writes copy 26 Feb 2021

10 Common Presentation Mistakes You Should Avoid

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PowerPoint presentations serve as a perfect medium for businesses to showcase their ideas and influence the audience. A well-designed deck is a deal-breaker for startups whether it is about impressing their investors for funding or launching new services or products. But crafting and delivering a perfect slideshow is an art not mastered by many entrepreneurs. Often presenters build dull slide decks which fail to motivate and inform their stakeholders.  

People often end up chucking all their content into a few slides, stand in front of their audience, and read off the content. This often leads to a phenomenon called ‘Death By PowerPoint’, where the audience loses track of the presentation and gets distracted. Creating informative, engaging, and yet minimalistic slides requires mastering the basics of presentation designing. Since not everyone has a knack for design, today we will talk about presentation mistakes that people end up doing which erodes the essence of the presentations as a whole.  

Without further ado, let’s move ahead and talk about the Ten most common mistakes to avoid while designing your perfect presentation:

Not Knowing the Audience

Forming a presentation without researching your audience first can curtail the chances of getting that funding for your venture. For example, your clients might be looking to expand ROI with organic methods but your presentation may cater to inorganic methods. When it comes to effective communication, knowing your audience beforehand can go a long way for you. This step is important since it helps you set an outline and formulate content that your audience can best relate to!

Ensure to know about the people attending and their expectations. This doesn’t mean completely revamping your core message or subject matter, but rather tweaking the way you present to the audience to meet specific needs. The first step is to determine your audience, what they have in common, or where they differ. You may also consider what would be on their minds while they’re attending your presentation. Once, you connect all the dots, you can move ahead and outline the presentation.

Employing Outdated Stock Templates  

Using stock templates to formulate your presentation is a classic mistake if you want it to get lost with the pitch decks of other startups. Dull templates fail to render an appeal of freshness to your slides. Employing professionally tailored templates captivate and entice your clients. For example, timeline templates and strategy templates.  

Utilize eye-catching templates from SlideModel to deliver your slideshow with a bang. The ready-to-use templates are designed by experts having rich design competence. A professional readymade template serves as a skeleton for your presentation. Rather than creating a presentation from scratch, you may consider using a pre-built template and simply put-in your thoughts. The strategy helps you create presentations that look captivating & balanced.

Packing Excess Content in One Slide  

The best entrepreneurs know that stuffing all the information into one slide can cost you a genuine stakeholder. Surplus ideas, when packed together create an unorganized mess which makes it difficult to understand the slides and gist of the content. Neither you nor your clients will be able to follow any structure or idea clearly. The key to presentation success is featuring minimalistic content yet covering every touchpoint to inform your audience.

As a presenter, you must understand that over-cluttered slides fail to impact the audience and often can’t be recalled. One should ensure to stick to only one topic per slide reinforcing your business propositions. Presenters should eliminate text of less significance and try to present thoughts in the form of infographics and other visual aids. This is how you can make your audience remember vital information and encourage a call-to-action by the time you reach the end. To reiterate, less is just right, strip down your slides, now!

Long and Tiresome Slide Deck

How many times have you sat through presentations with tonnes of slides going on and on for hours? We bet numerous times. The average attention span of adults is not more than 15-20 minutes. Hence, presentations exceeding this time limit are sure to compel your audience to wander off. People often end up creating slide decks that last forever. Your aim might be to educate your viewers, however, that doesn’t necessarily have to be in 60 slides.

You may consider following the 10-20-30 rule of effective presentation making. The rule helps you create and deliver presentations that woo your audience like anything. The 10-20-30 rule caps the total slides in a presentation at 10. Further, the rule states that a presentation should not last beyond 20 minutes, and presenters should set the font size to 30px to boost the viewability of the audience. If you follow this rule, you will wrap up your presentations while casting maximum influence over the audience.

All Text and No Graphics

Constructing a slide deck without any graphics is another mistake that presenters often execute. Humans are wired to get attracted to a visual stimulus. Therefore, mere text and bullets will not catch your clients' attention. Complement your slide text with relevant images, GIFs, data visuals, and infographics to make their ideas more digestible. One should note that the human brain is hardwired to prefer visuals over random text.  

It is the visuals that complement the slide content and validate the same. For instance, if the presentation is above the quarterly growth of your company, try creating and inserting visuals that showcase intuitive graphs and charts. Your audience can instantly relate to visuals and decipher them rather than reading a whole para off the slide. Presenters can use infographics, 3D charts or diagrams, mini-videos, and other visual aids.

Typographical Errors

Do your clients require constant clarification regarding reading the slide content? Are your investors squinting their eyes to read it? Then it’s a sign that you are not employing the correct font style and size. Avoid working with fancy fonts and always set your font size to 30pts or more for easy readability.  

While presenting to a corporate audience, the presentation should encompass a professional appeal! Be it fonts, graphics, typography, or animations. Keep the slides simple and not fancy at all times. In the end, your audience can resonate with the presentation better if it’s intuitive to see and feel.

Absence of Visual Hierarchy

Forgetting to format the content of your slide according to its importance can make your investors miss essential points. Presenters who do not organize the slide elements depending on their significance can easily lower their value. Start the presentation by showcasing an agenda since this is where the audience will begin their journey. Then you may delve deep into the subject matter and educate your audience as you progress.

Presenters often miss reiterating the important points at the end of the presentation. The practice is imperative since it instills the subject matter and insights in the minds of your audience. Thus, prioritize information in your slide plus the slide order in a manner that you want them to glance at first. Use larger text, bold type, high contrast colors, and more.  

Overabundant Animations

Let us face it, business presentations demand a certain level of sophistication to keep them professional. Employing animations on every object distracts your clients giving it an amateur look. Startups can benefit hugely if they stick to minimum animations. It will bestow the feeling of competence among the clients which will make them choose you over others.

A good practice is to restrict yourself to professional-looking animations including Appear, Fade, Wipe and Zoom. Anything too fancy can deteriorate the quality of the slides and not to mention, throw your audience off the track. Use animations to reiterate important headings and put motion paths to your advantage.

Reading From the Slides

A huge mistake to avoid while showcasing your pitch deck is to read from the screen. It not only undermines your confidence but takes a heavy toll on maintaining eye-contact as well. Your presentation is effective only if you deliver it with competence. Remember to speak to the investors rather than the screen. Moreover, you must stick to the point at all times.

No investor wants to listen to hundreds of slides with irrelevant stories. It is common to get distracted during a slideshow. But, practice and prepare notes if required. Every entrepreneur must avoid beating around the bush and stick to interesting information. A golden piece of advice here is to weave your slide content into a compelling narrative.  

Wrapping It Up:

Time dedicated to careful planning forever pays dividends. Practice and effort are the keys to delivering an unforgettable presentation. But, having the knowledge to avoid these pitfalls can render your presentations great. It can land you investors or even boost traffic conversion on your website. Thus, avoid the ten mistakes outlined above and present with confidence.

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