Microsoft PowerPoint entails software that is used to prepare a presentation in slide form using words, pictures, audio, and videos. A good PowerPoint presentation should be easy to read and appealing to the eye. The presenter is required to have good skills in a presentation to relay information correctly. However, people do make some common mistakes while preparing and presenting a PowerPoint presentation. This paper purposes to discuss some of the bad habits often observed in Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, suggestions on how to overcome them, and recommendations to create a compelling PowerPoint presentation.
The Bad Habits in PowerPoint Presentations
To begin with, reading each word while making a PowerPoint presentation is one of the various bad habits of presentation. Reading each word from the slides makes presenters lack direct contact with the audience as they will focus on the screen more than the audience. It makes the audience have a notion that the speaker does not know the topic they are talking about thus losing interest and trust in them. The slides can be read by the audience themselves from the screen hence they expect the speaker to give more information and description about the topic.
Another bad habit entails using many words in a slide thus making the slide look overcrowded. Too many words in a slide do not allow the audience to easily interpret the information on the slide. For instance, Barron (2019) highlights that “A classic mistake in PowerPoint slideshow design is to include too much information on a single slide”. This possess difficulty to the audience while taking notes since the words are many and they may not know the keywords in the whole text. Having voluminous words in a slide menaces the audience’s attention, since they will spend a lot of time reading the slides instead of listening to the presenter. Additionally, using inappropriate font size of the text complicates presentations. For instance, smaller font sizes makes some words to be invisible. The use of the wrong font size makes it difficult for the reader to read a text and differentiate between a topic, critical texts, and descriptive words. Moreover, the audiences with eyesight problems will be adversely affected when small texts are used.
Inserting many images that do not match the topic being discussed is another bad habit that permeates PowerPoint presentations. Low-quality images and graphics make the presentation to be less appealing (Barron, 2019). Using images with different colors from that of the template interferes with the outlook of the presentation. Similarly, poor communication skills by the presenter form another bad habit in a PowerPoint presentation. The poor communication skills include lack of direct contact with the audience, talking too fast, and failure to engage the audience during a presentation. When the presenter exhibit these traits, the objective of the presentation may not be achieved.
Tips for Making Good PowerPoint Presentations
There are ways to overcome the bad habits commonly seen during a PowerPoint presentation. First, to avoid reading word by word during a PowerPoint presentation, the presenter should go through the slides and do thorough research concerning the topic of discussion before the presentation. Reading the slides severally before demonstration assists the presenter to master the arrangements of the slides. Proper research will enable the presenter to have vast knowledge concerning the topic. Adequate knowledge gives the presenter the confidence to elaborate well on the points in the slides.
Second, the presenter should highlight the key points and words for the presentation to avoid using many words. The slides should be arranged in a way that each slide has a theme or subtheme for easy reading. A presentation is more effective if the themes are clear, short, and precise. For instance, Guffey & Loewy (2017) stresses about clarity by highlighting that “Ethical business communication feel an obligation to write clearly so that receivers understand easily and quickly.” Consequently, the presenters should note the key points about the topic to guide them in the choice of words to include in the slide. Too much elaboration of a given subtheme should be avoided to ensure that only the most important description is captured.
Third, the font size of the texts can be made appropriate by using a different font for the theme, subthemes, and descriptive words. The themes and subthemes should have larger font sizes as compared to the other words used to elaborate the various themes (Sommerville, 2017). Similarly, the words should be clearly seen so that the audience does not strain while reading the slides. The writing style used in a presentation matters, thus using the appropriate writing style will be of benefit to the audience. Having a large font size may consume much of the space in the slide, therefore, the size should be moderate enough.
Finally, the images and graphics inserted in the slide should be of high quality and match the topic being discussed. Using the appropriate images enhances communication since the audience will easily relate the theme of the presentation to the images on the screen. “Visual images always have a strong appeal compared to words” (Raja & Nagasubramani, 2018). The color of the images and graphics should be chosen wisely to make the slides appealing and the color of the images should match that of the template used.
Before the presentation, the presenter should rehearse the tonal variation and timing of the presentation to imagine what the presentation would look like. During the rehearsal, the presenter will develop inner calm and build confidence (Guffey & Loewy, 2017). The presenter can use a timer to enable him to know how to balance the time of the presentation. Moreover, the presenter will know when to pause during a presentation and use non-verbal cues. On the other hand, recording oneself during rehearsal enables presenters to identify their mistakes and rectify them before the actual presentation.
Consequently, to prepare a compelling PowerPoint presentation, the presenter should choose the appropriate and high-quality template that can match the colors of the text, images, and graphics. For instance, Sommerville, (2017) argues that “The templates often contain distracting backgrounds and poor color combinations. Select a good book on Web graphics and apply the same principles to your slides.” The topic of discussion should be divided into subthemes to be discussed in each slide so that it becomes easy and simple to read. While preparing a presentation, the presenter should use simple formattings, such as bullet points and short words rather than using too much punctuation. The tables should be used where necessary, such as when comparing or contrasting two ideas.
In summary, having a well-prepared PowerPoint presentation necessitates effective communication between the presenter and the audience. PowerPoint is more effective than other software’s as it allows the use of videos, audio, graphics, and pictures that reduces boredom among the audience. Therefore for the presentations to be effective and efficient, the presenters through the consultation of the experts should prepare adequately before making any PowerPoint presentation.
Barron, B. (2019).15 Pro tips to design a good vs bad PowerPoint. Envatotuts. Web.
Guffey, M. E., & Loewy, D. (2017). Business communication: Process and product, (9th Ed). South University Online Library.
Raja, R., & Nagasubramani, P. C. (2018). Impact of modern technology in education. Journal of Applied and Advanced Research, 3(S1), S33–S35. Web.
Sommerville, J. (2017).Tips for making effective PowerPoint presentations: The seven deadly sins of PowerPoint presentations. National Congress of State Legislatures.