Death by PowerPoint seems like a term coined by university students bored by PowerPoint presentations. Incidentally, the term is exactly that, a PowerPoint presentation so bad and monotonous that one would prefer death over it. However, PowerPoint presentations are used widely, by students and professionals alike, such is their popularity. In this article, we will discuss what exactly death by PowerPoint is, what were/are its consequences, and how to avoid it.
What is Death by PowerPoint?
Death by PowerPoint, as the name suggests, is a terrible presentation. Microsoft’s presentation software PowerPoint has a wide usage among students and professionals alike. However, many a time these people fail to optimally use the software to present their ideas while keeping the viewer in mind. They may end up making visually unappealing slides, text-heavy slides, and so on. These do not grab and/or retain the attention of users, making them lose interest.
What were its consequences?
Who is to blame for these issues? Is it PowerPoint’s fault for not making its interface such that it makes making a presentation easier? Or is it the users at fault here who do not use PowerPoint efficiently? A bit of both, maybe. While PowerPoint is less at fault here, it did have limited options for custom designing and layouts. This gave birth to alternative platforms such as Keynote and Prezzi. While they were not perfect alternatives, they did give a different dimension to presenting one’s idea to others. Another famous company that emerged to solve this problem is Slidebean. They gave simplistic design solutions and enabled users to have a wide variety of templates to choose from. Moreover, the company runs a blog and YouTube channel to guide users on how to make better presentations and how to put forward their ideas efficiently.
How to avoid it?
Now that we know what death by PowerPoint is, lets look at how we can prevent it.
Avoid text-heavy slides
Presentations that contain too much text will never appeal to the viewer. If you want to grab their attention, use as little text as possible. Viewers want to see presentations to simplify and summarize matters. If you use too much text, viewers may think that their time is being wasted as they could have read all that in official documents.
Images and Infographics Over Text
Carrying on from the first point, if you can not use too much text, what do you do? Visual aid becomes essential here. Use relevant pictures and infographics to explain your points in a concise yet accurate manner. Images can be powerful tools of communication as well. This is because the interpretation of the images is left to the viewer, and hence, captures their attention much better than words. Images and infographics, if used correctly, can be your best friends during presentations.
Follow a structure
A presentation is like storytelling, and every story has a structure. Hence, you have to keep in mind that while presenting, your ideas must be coherent and structured. A clear beginning, a body, and a conclusion should be present. Designate each slide to a single idea only. In case you think you are diverting to another idea, change slides.
This cannot be stressed enough. Concise and clear language is essential for a good presentation. This allows you to retain the attention of viewers and keep them engaged. This is true not only for presentations but for general communication as well. And since presentations are a form of communication, it applies here as well.
Homogeneous and attractive design template
A PowerPoint presentation does not have to be flashy to make it look appealing. While designing your slides, make sure you have a homogenous color scheme and a consistent design. Simpler designs tend to be more professional and visually appealing than the ones that are flashy. Therefore, following them is more likely to make your presentation more appealing and engaging.
Death by PowerPoint is a very real thing. While preparing presentations, make sure you avoid it using a few steps mentioned above.
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