In our last BLOG, we asked you to vote for the Three Worst Mistakes presenters make when creating their PowerPoint slides. In this BLOG, we want to present the results and give you some tips to help you eliminate bad habits.
Here is what you voted as the top three mistakes that result in bad slides:
Worst Mistake #1 – Too much text on one slide
Worst Mistake #2 – Graphs or charts are too small to read or even see
Worst Mistake #3 – Font is too small and can’t be seen by the audience
28% of you chose “too much text on one slide” as the #1 worst mistake. And the next two are about slides that no one can see or read. How much more proof do you need? You know these are serious mistakes. You know you don’t like them as a listener. You know they irritate your listeners. But as presenters, you continue to include these hideous slides in your presentations. Why?!
STOP rationalizing that you must include all this information in your slides. If you have to provide all that detail, put it in a handout where it belongs. If your boss says you must create your report/handout in PowerPoint, then make two slide decks. One is the message with all the detail – you hand that out to your audience as their notes. The second is a helpful presentation slide deck…one that supports your message – but isn’t the message! Remember - audiences understand and remember 4x more when a presenter uses clear, well-designed visuals at the right time.
For tips on designing effective visuals, click here.
In our previous BLOG, you voted the following three presenter habits as the three worst mistakes presenters make:
Worst Habit #1 - Reads constantly from slides or notes
Worst Habit #2 - Uses too many filler words i.e. um, er, ah, okay, like, you know, etc.
Worst Habit #3 - Goes off topic or rambles
Preparation and rehearsal are key to eliminating all of these bad habits. In addition, here are some quick tips to help you:
#1 Reads constantly from slides or notes
- Use notes – don’t rely on your slides to guide you.
- Use key words only on your notes - no full sentences.
- Practice your presentation with your notes – find out what key words prompt you to say what you want to say, when you want to say it.
#2 Uses too many filler words (i.e. um, er, okay, like, you know, etc.)
- Write out two paragraphs of your presentation in full sentences – the exact words you want to say. Pick up the paper and read out loud what you wrote, word for word, two times…you don’t have any filler words on the paper. Put the paper out of sight and say what you wrote – you remember it without the filler words.
- Talk a little faster. For some people that eliminates the time to use filler words.
- Practice in front of a colleague. Ask them to snap their fingers every time you say the filler word you want to eliminate. When you present, write the filler word on your notes…you will hear that “snap” and it will remind you not to use the word.
#3 Goes off topic or rambles
- Use notes (key words only) to keep you on track.
- Practice with your notes – adjust them if they allow you to ramble.
- Only provide what your listeners need - not everything you know on the topic.