The Worst PowerPoint Mistakes You Can Make

Everyone makes mistakes — even people who give presentations for a living.

When you’re a pro, you can put together a PowerPoint presentation in your sleep. But after so long in the game, you may not be aware of the latest design best practices, so you might be making some rookie mistakes despite your expertise.

Most of us know not to rely too heavily on hokey FX and annoying music clips, but what about the less obvious PowerPoint faux-pas? Scroll through this list to make sure you aren’t inadvertently making these big mistakes.

Mistake #1: Relying on Basic Templates

If you’re taking your PowerPoint on a sell-side roadshow, using Microsoft’s built-in templates will never impress investors. To truly make an impression, you need a fully customized and branded template for your presentation.

If you aren’t sure how to build a functional template that reflects your content and brand, you can outsource this important task to presentation design specialists. A PowerPoint presentation company has a roster of designers on hand to custom-build your templates with key brand elements.

Investing in custom-built designs will save you plenty of time and frustration in the future. That’s because a well-designed template can be reused as many times as you need.

Mistake #2: Walls of Text

If you’ve partnered with a PowerPoint design firm, their specialists will provide training to make sure you master your slide deck design. They’ll be the first to tell you that no slide deck should be top-to-bottom text.

A PowerPoint presentation is supposed to complement your speech with concise bullet points of your most salient points.

If you’re transposing your entire script onto a slide deck, you’re in trouble. This kind of slide content undercuts your value as a presenter. It might reveal to your audience you aren’t skilled as you thought you were.

Worse yet, dense text can overwhelm your audience. It makes it harder to find the important points buried within all that text.

Mistake #3: Overcomplicated Data

A good presentation is one backed by insightful data to illustrate the power of your message. How you display this data is almost as important as what this information tells your audience. Overcomplicated charts with too many labels and data points can overshadow your data, stealing its thunder.

Much like mistake #2, there is such a thing as overdoing it. Although you may want to share as much raw data with your audience, you should scale back to what really matters. Infographics, diagrams, and charts — any data viz should be sleek and to the point.

Better still, these embedded images should reflect the overarching design of your PowerPoint. Whether you design it on your own or contact a PowerPoint design firm for help, pay attention to this detail. A fully integrated design will help you stand out from the crowd.

Bottom Line

Mistakes are easy to make, but they’re also easy to avoid. Remember these tips the next time you’re gearing up for a presentation. Whether you’re in sales and marketing or academia, this advice can help you make an impact on any audience.

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