Partners in Performance Blog

Presentations: Do Your PowerPoint Slides Annoy People?

What are the top 3 things that annoy you in PowerPoint presentations? Dave Paradi, author of The Visual Slide Revolution, asked people this question in his research study. Here’s what he found:

  1. Speaker reading slides – 73.8%
  2. Full sentences on the slides – 51.6%
  3. Text too small – 48.1%

If you want to use PowerPoint to your advantage then you need to:

  1. Learn how to design slides for maximum impact on the audience
  2. Learn how to speak about your slides and integrate them seamlessly into your presentation

Many people approach a presentation as though the slides are the presentation and they are there to support the slide deck. The reverse is true.  As a presenter, YOU are the presentation and the slides are there to enhance your message and make you more persuasive.

Remember, the slides are for the audience, NOT for you. Do not use slides as your crib notes. Your slides should keep your audience focused and enhance their understanding of your content. If it doesn’t help accomplish that goal, don’t include them.

Most presenters don’t use audio visual aids properly.  In fact they use them very poorly. In my UPFRONT Persuasion presentation skills training and coaching, I observe one of two things:

  1. Presenters avoid using PowerPoint or visual aids because they are afraid of technology or don’t know how to use them effectively
  2. Presenters misuse PowerPoint by overusing slides, reading them and using slides that are poorly designed. PowerPoint Fatigue, Death by PowerPoint, PowerPoint Slapping, Whipping and Abuse are common descriptors.

If you fall into the first category of avoidance, do what you need to do to get comfortable with PowerPoint technology.  There’s ample evidence that supports the use of visuals for persuasion. “A picture is worth a thousand words” holds true, in that a single image can save a presenter from speaking a paragraph of descriptive details.

  • A study done by the Wharton School of Business showed that the use of visuals reduced meeting times by 28 percent.
  • Another study found that audiences believe presenters who use visuals are more professional and credible than presenters who merely speak.
  • And still other research indicates that meetings and presentations reinforced with visuals help participants remember, reach decisions and consensus in less time (source Wikipedia).

Getting comfortable with PowerPoint technology is only the first step. If you want to avoid the mistake of falling into the trap of PowerPoint abuse, learn how to use visual technology to enhance your impact rather than to distract or annoy your audience.

I would love to hear from you. What are the things that most annoy you?  What are your favourite tips and tricks for effectively using YOUR visuals?

This entry was posted by TanjaParsley on February 10, 2012 in PowerPoint, Presentation Skills, Sales Skills, UPFRONT Persuasion™. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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