25 Reasons Why Your
Presentation Probably Sucks
People often wonder why their PowerPoint and Keynote presentations don’t get the response they were hoping for. And audience members I speak with at conferences say over 90% of presentations they sit through “suck.” Here are 25 reasons why, and my answers (or at least the answers I’d like to give).
1. Q: Do I really need slides at all?
A: Yes. You’re not as brilliant as you think -- sorry.
2. Q: Do I have to rehearse? It ruins my spontaneity.
A. Yeah, you’re just like Robert DeNiro that way. The only way to appear spontaneous is to rehearse.
3. Q: Should I put my company logo and information at the beginning or end?
A: The audience doesn’t care about your company or product – they only care about their company and product, or something you say that is authentic.
4. Q: Should I follow the “Rule of 6” bullets per slide?
A: That’s six bullets too many. Avoid using bullets. Nobody can read your small type anyway. Here’s a trick. Go to your Slide Sorter View, and put it on 100%. If you can’t read the text, neither can your audience.
5. Q: Is Apple’s Keynote better than Microsoft PowerPoint?
A: It doesn’t matter, and see No. 3.
6. Q: Is it good to mix up animations on each slide?
A: No. Having your recommendations bounce or fly in from the top of a slide is not creative – it’s annoying.
7. Q: I can’t find great images, but I do have some low-resolution images that are small and work just fine, is it okay to use them?
A: Sure, your audience won’t notice how bad the images are. They won’t care you didn’t take time to come up with something better.
8. Q: Is it better to use checks or squares instead of bullet points?
A: Yeah, sure, you’re a regular Milton Glaser. Look him up. It doesn’t matter. Again, if you can, avoid bullets, checks, boxes, doo-dads, etc. Good words and ideas work great all by themselves.
9. Q: Do you think I should experiment with different colored templates?
A: No. It will make you look like everyone else’s template only in a different color.
10. Q: Do I really need to talk about something personal?
A: Yes, it’s the only thing they will remember. But don’t overdo it. See No. 3.
11. Q: Is it cool to use different transitions from slide to slide?
A: Only unless your audience likes getting carsick. Use the fade or dissolve 90% of the time.
12. Q: I have 10 slides for a 15-minute presentation, is that the right amount?
A: It doesn’t matter. The audience has no clue how many slides you have. Just make each slide mean something, and get a remote control to get you through them professionally.
13. Q: I get scared and nervous when I speak in public, how do I overcome this?
A: Easy. Present something you know and care about, or learn how to get a strong point of view about it. That will give you something to say.
14. Q: Should I embed a five-minute video I’ve just made into the beginning or at end of my presentation?
A: Avoid video at all cost unless you’re the director of Breaking Bad or Boardwalk Empire. Then, just show the video and forget the presentation.
15. Q: I like being funny and using cartoons or joke illustrations, is that okay?
A: No, unless you’re Robin Williams.
16. Q: Do you think moving around a lot shows high energy?
A: No. Stay stage left for as long as you can. And stay away from the Monster Java.
17. Q: I’ve given the same presentation for years, why should I change it now even if it may not be the greatest, audiences get it anyway?
A: Sure, you’re the exception. You’ll win over your audiences and customers with your sheer charm, wit, and general brilliance. There is no way they will think you’re a lazy, out of touch fool saying the same old thing and wasting their time.
18. Q: I’ve heard that telling a story is important, but my customers and audiences just want the objectives, strategies, and solutions. Why should I bore them with a story?
A: Yeah, you go, Shakespeare. I guess all those actors on Broadway should take that advice. Nobody sitting in an audience likes being told a story or taken on journey, right?
19. Q: I really think infographics are cool, should I use them more often?
A: No. Nobody can see the data points and they’re just watching you lost in the coolness of it all.
20. Q: I really think 3-D images are powerful, should I use them throughout?
A: No. It’s not worth the hassle. A simple reflection will suffice.
21. Q: I really think 3-D charts and graphs are cool, too, should I use them?
A: No. It just makes the data harder to fathom. Look up a guy named Edward Tufte. He’ll tell you why.
22. Q: Do I need to put my company’s logo on every slide? I want to drive home the brand message and protect my IP.
A: No. You’re just bugging the audience every time they see your logo, and see No. 3.
23. Q: I make sure that my slides are good enough for my handouts. Is this a good idea?
A: No. You think it’s a clever, timesaving trick, but it’s not. Your presentation will look like a handout and not a presentation, and vice versa.
24. Q: Should I use a dark gray or black background like Steve Jobs always did at Apple product launches?
A: He was presenting in a dark theater with high definition images. What do you have? The rule is this: dark room = dark background. Light room= light background.
25. Q: I see people standing in back of the audience and talking, is that a good thing? I’m selling things back there.
A: No. They’re asking for their money back.
Bob Chew is an author, lecturer, and marketing communication expert. He is CEO/Founder of BoldPoint Now, a presentation training system developed to make everyone the most powerful communicator and presenter they can be. Learn more at: http://www.boldpointnow.com.
SLIDE SHOW OF THE WEEK
EVERY WEEK BOLDPOINT FEATURES A NEW SLIDE SHOW THAT WE THINK WILL HELP ILLUSTRATE IMPACTFUL AND POWERFUL WAYS TO PRESENT. CHECK OUT OUR IDEA GALLERY FOR MORE EXAMPLES.
PHOTO GALLERY -- DOWNLOAD OUR BEST
EACH WEEK WE OFFER MEMBERS FREE PHOTOS THAT WILL LIVEN UP ANY PRESENTATION. OUR EXPERTS ARE CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR THE BEST BUSINESS, LIFESTYLE, AND CULTURE PHOTOS FOR PRESENTATIONS OF ALL TYPES. USE BOLDPOINT PHOTOS TO SET YOURSELF APART -- GET AWAY FROM THE BLAND, OVER-USED CLIP ART IMAGES YOU'VE SEEN EVERYWHERE. STAND APART WITH OUR OWN CURATED IMAGES. IT'S FREE FOR MEMBERS.
This from agency Identity. A good example of getting it about 70% correct. Loads of good, big images, but too often falling back on bulleted, dull text. We give this 2 "Claps" out of 4. Let us know what you think. Just Click on image.
Forum. Blog. Highlights. Free Downloads.
BoldPoint Forum. Join in!
This Week's Before & After
Here's a real life example. Above, the usual slide that is text and bullet heavy and is in a "telling" mode. The goal is to engage audiences so they actually "feel" the experience of your data through graphic representation. Below, is the after slide, which gives audiences the sense of real growth. It's not about high-art in design, but in having the audience get a real sense of what the data means, and to have them "experience" it. It's the old writing axiom: Show, Don't Tell.