We’ve all sat through really awful PowerPoint presentations. One such presentation comes to mind. I sat through a two hour presentation in which the presenter read directly from his PowerPoint slides. He could have emailed out his presentation to us, rather than submitting us to an afternoon of torture.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of really bad PowerPoint presentations out there. Here are five of the most common mistakes to avoid.
One of the most common mistakes is that some presenters seem to think that they have to fill their slides with text. That is the quickest way to lose your audience! You have to understand that PowerPoint is nothing more than a presentation tool that if used properly will engage your audience.
The trick to not using too much text is to consider that each slide is equivalent to one idea. It’s a starting point for a discussion of the next point in your presentation. Add a title and an image to the slide; use that as a way to engage your audience.
Bullet points should only ever be used to list the subset of the slide’s main topic. Don’t over do it with bullet points. Only use them if they relate to the topic at hand.
This has to be one of my biggest pet peeves. There is nothing more annoying than to see a slide bounce, fade or flash across the screen. Quite frankly, transitions distract the audience. You don’t want to do that!
If you are showing the presentation to your class it is best to advance the slides manually with either your mouse or the space bar. If you have uploaded the presentation to a webpage it is bad practice to add transitions to the presentation – transitions will make your presentation appear childish.
ClipArt is an application found in PowerPoint. You will find preloaded illustrations, photographs, videos, and audio clips in ClipArt.
A lot of presenters populate their PowerPoint slides with the cartoonish – like illustrations found in ClipArt. Sadly, it gives their presentations a very amateurish look. Imagine how your students would feel if you showed them a presentation with such illustrations.
Take the time to explore ClipArt and you will be amazed at the awesome images that you can use to enhance your presentations.
Only use a sound clip if it enhances the presentation! Adding silly sounds to a slide will annoy your audience. On the other hand, if you add a sound that ties in to the slide in question – e.g. the slide is about tigers, the sound of a tiger roaring plays in the background – it can (and probably will) engage your audience.
Creating Awesome PowerPoint presentations
Don’t make these mistakes and you will be well off to creating awesome PowerPoint presentations that will blow your students away.
One of these days, I will write about five things to do to create engaging PowerPoint presentations. Stay tuned…
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