10 Worst PowerPoint Habits

PowerPoint can be a great tool for presentations, but when used poorly, it can be distracting, confusing and even make the speaker unnecessary. Here are 10 worst PowerPoint Habits.


10. Too many slides

More slides do not make a better presentation. Different topics and sub-topics can be broken up, but don't go to the extreme of one slide for each sentence. Your audience needs time to read each slide and make a connection to what you are saying.

9. Too much information on each slide

At the other end of the spectrum is fitting too much onto each slide. Your audience shouldn't lose their place on a slide while you give your presentation. Too much information makes it difficult to follow along and your audience may miss the important points while they try to find their place. Another possibility is that they will read ahead and not pay you much attention at all. 

8. Copyright violations

Pictures, quotes, videos and sounds can all add to a presentation's effectiveness, but make sure that you are legally permitted to use them. To be on the safe side, stick with clip art, free online sources and material in the public commons. If you are going to use copyrighted material, make sure you give appropriate credit where ever it's due.

7. Distracting visual effects and sounds

Transitioning from slide to slide can be just as important as the presentation itself. While using video and sound can be useful at times, overuse is down right annoying. You want your audience to take you seriously, driving them crazy with swirly, flashy, wavy effects is not the way to do it. Use these things sparingly and really only if they meaningfully add to your presentation. If in doubt, don't use it.

6. Inappropriate fonts

Different fonts can make your slides stand out, especially in the event of a long presentation. Make sure you use fonts appropriate to the setting and subject matter. Elaborate, ornate or hard to read fonts are poor choices. Stick with fonts like Ariel, Helvetica, Times New Roman and the like.

5. Poor color choices

A great PowerPoint slideshow can be ruined by using inappropriate colors for a particular setting, or become nearly useless if the color choices make it unreadable. It's fine to use different colors, and while neon colors may stand out, they are hardly appropriate in most business or academic settings. Similar colored fonts and background make text difficult to impossible to read. Don't forget the colorblind either.

4. Reading word for word from slides

Your PowerPoint slides are there to emphasize key points and help your audience follow along. They are there to hear what you have to say. This goes along with Habit Number 9. If your whole speech is up on screen, why do they need to listen to you at all?

3. Not knowing the information

Make sure you know the subject you are presenting. Habit 4 can be a symptom of not knowing enough about your topic. Even with a good set of slides and good note cards, if your knowledge on the subject is lacking, it will be really tough to project confidence in your presentation. You are supposed to be the authority on the subject, so become one.

2. Handing out presentation before starting

Passing out handouts before your presentation is similar, but even worse than Habit 4. At least if you read your slides the audience has to stick around until the end to get all the information. If you hand out your entire presentation beforehand, why should they even stick around? If you decide on distributing a handout, make sure the material enhances the information you are delivering during your presentation, not give it away.

1. Spelling and grammar mistakes

Spelling and grammar mistakes are some of the worst habits people have while creating a PowerPoint. There is a built in spell checker that takes virtually no time to use. Also, make sure you check the spelling of any people, companies or places. Misspelling a clients name is a great way to say goodbye to a potential deal.

10 Worst PowerPoint Habits 10 Worst PowerPoint Habits Reviewed by Sandipan Chakraborty on April 07, 2012 Rating: 5
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