Dave Paradi just published the results of his fourth survey on which PowerPoint presentation characteristics annoy audiences the most. Here are the top five – in order of unpopularity – culled from more than 540 responses:
- The speaker read the slides to us
- Text so small I couldn’t read it
- Full sentences instead of bullet points
- Slides hard to see because of color choice
- Overly complex diagrams or charts
Dave goes into more detail on his survey and the results, and will be following up on his blog with a discussion of respondent comments.
Professionals in the presentation industry have been evangelizing against these common design and delivery flaws for years. Apparently to no effect. See how easy it is to make your webinar presentations stand out from the garbage that your audiences dread, yet have come to expect? Even after all these years, you still have the opportunity to be cutting edge and a trendsetter, simply by ceasing to treat your slide show as a “Books On Tape” performance.
Presentation slides should lend visual emphasis and support to your vocal presentation. If your slides tell the entire story, the audience doesn’t need you. They certainly don’t need to spend 60 minutes listening to you read something they could read much more quickly.
Each slide should distill and quickly convey a single idea at a glance. You can probably explain the concept in the title area alone! Use visual cues to build a connection to your verbal material. If you use data to support your message, do the inferential work for your audience... Instead of showing them data, show them information. Clearly and obviously highlight the point the data supports.
Raw numbers, tables, and detailed graphs have a place in the business world. They are necessary for doing due diligence, learning how to draw conclusions, and acting as archival reference information. But in a group presentation, they distract and detract from the power of your message.
A well-written white paper has great value. But slapping it onto a bunch of PowerPoint slides doesn’t make it a presentation, and doesn’t transfer the value to a live audience. They deserve better. You can do better. Let Dave’s dissatisfied minions be your guide!