Common Mistakes Made Using PowerPoint

Expecting PowerPoint to do the presenting for you

Visual aids are intended to support you, not replace you. Whatever you use to support your presentation, the focus should remain on you and your ideas.

Don’t try to hide performance anxiety or lack of preparation behind an elaborate slideshow. The best way to beat ‘stage fright’ is by rehearsing and developing your presentation skills and delivery.

Spending more time on the slides than on your talk

Focus on writing your presentation, then plan your visuals to support it. If the content of your presentation is poor, no amount of elaborate visuals will help.

Ignoring the audience

Don’t become so preoccupied with your slideshow that you pay more attention to clicking the mouse at the right time than to delivering your talk. Speak to your audience, not to your screen or your notes.

Turning all the lights off

Dimming the light can increase the clarity of your slides, but don’t turn off every light and leave your audience in darkness. They may want to make notes.

Hiding in the corner

Don’t stand too far to the side of the room or hide behind a lectern or computer. This creates a barrier between you and the audience. If the layout of the room you are presenting in has the computer in the corner, make sure you vary your position when possible.

Reading directly from slides

You wouldn’t read a script of your presentation word-for-word, so avoid reading your slides. Not only is it boring for your audience, but they will stop listening to you and read ahead. Don’t simply read your slides aloud; supplement or explain text and graphics.

Inadequate preparation and rehearsal

Make sure you rehearse with your slideshow. Rehearsal will help you ensure the timing of your presentation is correct and that you manage the technology efficiently.