5 Ways to Avoid Death By Powerpoint

Death by Powerpoint Victim

Many people in a variety of settings often need quality presentations to help gain attention, make a point, and drive an objective. Nobody can afford to go to a meeting with "death by Powerpoint," which is either 12pt font and paragraphs of content OR the invariable clipart hodgepodge that can feel less than professional.

Here are 5 tips for how you can make presentations pop.

#1: Remember its a presentation (not a novel).

The job of Powerpoint is to support the speaker - not to do the actual presenting. The slides are there to back up what you're saying with visual punctuation. All those words on the slides need to come from your mouth rather than asking your audience to read them. If you need to write them out, put them in the notes section.

#2: Set a goal and outline your thoughts before starting.

Start by asking yourself "what is the MOST important thing I have to get across in this presentation?" or "what is it that I want from the people I'm presenting to?" Write that down. That is your objective. Be clear and concise with it. Stick to it. Now, just like when you were in school, make an outline of what your audience needs to know so you get what you want. This outline will break down the important points that will become your slides long before you start making your presentation.

#3: Design with "less is more" in mind.

Many people are afraid of allowing space to have a voice on their slide. Space allows the viewer to look at what is being presented as the emphasis to what you're saying. This is the place for big ideas. Punchy thoughts. Important points. It's perfectly ok to put one single word in the middle of a slide if that word drives home your point.

#4: Stick to your template.

Using a template ensures consistency. Consistency equates to professionalism. It's not a good idea to go too rogue unless you know what you're doing. If you're going rogue, use the "blank slide" option rather than trying to convert a content slide.

#5: Images.

Cartoons are best left to Saturday mornings (unless your intention is to create humor). If you need an image to drive home a point, there are many free images available online (such as Pexels). Try searching a keyword that equates to the point your driving home and see what comes up. Saves time? Clock. Saves money? Piggybank. Challenge? Hiking/mountain climbing. You get the idea.

PRO TIP: If you have the means and need something done right, Duarte is one of the best presentation builders in the industry.


Three-time national award-winner, Holly Larsen, is a 14-year veteran marketing communications professional. As an expert in healthcare communications and brand building, she is often invited to consult with well-known brands such as AT&T Healthcare, Brown & Toland Medical Group, Panadol, Kaiser Permanente, and McKesson Corporation.

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