8 Things You Shouldn’t Do In A PowerPoint
written by Brandon Wang.
Incredibly, even with technology so advanced and the population of the world so incredibly knowledgeable, people still insist on doing the most spastic and annoying things in a PowerPoint.
Of course, we are talking about students here, we are talking about salesman who really just want to make a point, and for people who don’t exactly spend hours in Photoshop perfecting a design.
Of course, there are 8 things you can do to avoid the craze and make your PowerPoint stand out. We’re going to show you how to do that.
1) Do not use WordArt, under any circumstances.
WordArt is both outdated and extremely ugly. It’s horrific! Just taking a look at the default selection of styles should alert you to the immediate fact that WordArt is extremely ugly, and you should never use it.
2) Don’t use more than two animations per slide.
Better yet, don’t use any custom animations for slides at all. There’s nothing more annoying than whiz banging text and pictures that fly around on tracks for five minutes before coming to a stop.
Only use animations for displaying text one by one so your audience does not get ahead of you, and please only use artful fades for this. Clickety-clackity typewriters should be banished. This is the new age.
3) DO NOT READ OFF OF YOUR POWERPOINT!
There’s nothing more annoying than watching 1) a speaker turn around and read off of the PowerPoint, or 2) a speaker reading off of a piece of paper containing the contents of the PowerPoint.
Instead of using text and then just reading off of it, consider concisely writing on the PowerPoint only the main point of what you are talking about at the moment. Feel free to accompany pictures, or even replace text with images.
4) Don’t use the themes.
Although newer versions of Office come with themes that improve greatly upon the previous versions, you still shouldn’t use them. Opt for a non-distracting grayscale background color, such as white, gray, or dark gray (try to avoid black).
You want to give focus to what the slide is talking about. Sometimes I vignette the background with a darker shade of the color so it really focuses on the bit of text in the middle.
5) Prepare a speech, but don’t read off of it.
You should always prepare a speech. This is what makes a PowerPoint a PowerPoint: so you don’t just read off of your slides. But similarly, it makes a lot of non-sense if you just stick your nose in the speech.
Make sure to look up at the audience. Even better, memorize the speech so you can walk around while delivering. If you have trouble memorizing but can easily vocalize your thoughts, write down the points of your PowerPoint and then you can talk about it as you see it.
6) Time your slides or bring a small clicker.
Incredibly annoying is when the speaker is engaging the audience in incredibly useful information but then stops, walks over from the side of the stage at which he or she was standing to the podium, try to change the slide, give up, and then say to the entire audience, “Hey, will you change the slide?”
Seriously now. Bring a clicker, and make sure it works. You can also time your slides, but that might not work out if you have any questions, slow down, or lose your train of thought for a second.
7) There are two slide animations to use: fade, or none.
You should either fade each slide, or you shouldn’t use a slide animation at all. Other animations that come with PowerPoint, such as windmill, blinds, etc, all distract the audience. You want to capture them, not annoy them.
Runner-up slide animations include Fade to Black and Slide Down/right/left/up, but ONLY if you know how to use them. It is a favorite technique of mine to make each slide look connected to the other so sliding the slide makes it all look connected.
8) Don’t be nervous; be yourself.
Nervousness is the by-product of the fact that you have not rehearsed enough. If you have the script imprinted in your head, you know it will work out, then you won’t be afraid when you see a crowd of people. Why? Because you know it will work out.
Relax. Be your best in front of the audience. If you start to freak out, just think that this is just another one of your countless rehearsals (that you did, right?) and that everything, again, is going to work out.