Small mistakes, big impact: 10 tips for perfect slides
Many a little makes a mickle. Small mistakes in a presentation irritate and distract your audience. If you let them accumulate, the credibility of your presentation suffers – even if reasoning is flawless.
Here are the top 10 easily avoidable mistakes:
- Spelling mistakes and inconsistencies in style: The PowerPoint spell checker and the search and replace functions are there to help.
- Too many spaces: Search and replace helps you find misplaced spaces.
- Font size too small: Check beforehand if your chosen font size is readable from the back of the room in which you will be giving your presentation. Slides that work well on the computer screen are often no good when seen from the back of the meeting room.
- Lack of contrast: Use clearly distinguishable colours, e.g. in bar charts or to highlight important points. With some beamers – old models in particular – subtle differences in colour can disappear, making it difficult to distinguish similar tones from one another.
- Font chaos: Don’t use too many different font styles and sizes on the same slide, and never use fonts that aren’t part of your corporate design. Over use of bold, italic and underlined type makes an unprofessional impression. More than two or three font styles in the main part of the slide are usually too many.
- Too many bullet points: Three to four bullet points are a good number to aim for. Most people can easily process this amount. If you have more items, organize them under headings.
- Lack of alignment: When elements such as titles and text boxes are not properly placed and aligned on the slide, the observer has the feeling they are ‘jumping around’. The eye isn’t trained onto the content and the slides look messy.
- Lack of symmetry: Symmetry gives slides a harmonious appearance. If, for example, you have two similarly sized boxes on a slide, make sure they are exactly the same size.
- Animation as a gimmick: Animation in PowerPoint is no longer the eye-catching gimmick it once was. Only use animation when it supports your message.
- Incorrect headers and footers: Presentations often end up with inconsistent headers and footers, e.g. when slides are pulled together from different presentations. When completing the presentation, remove all headers and footers and reinsert the correct ones. Then everything will be consistent.
By the way: QuickSlide for PowerPoint helps you avoid many of these mistakes.