The best presentations add value. As a unique individual, there are hundreds of powerful perspectives only you can share with the world. But standing in your way are 12 common power point presentation techniques which rob you of your rightful victory lap.
Here are 12 cringe-worthy presentation techniques to avoid.
1. The Ransom Note Presentation
Have you ever seen a presentation that looks like it was cobbled together from a thousand places? Clip art text meets cheesy stock photo meets low-res cartoon, each layer building an even bigger eyesore. We call these Ransom Note presentations, and they’re especially common in medium to large companies. Ransom Note presentation designs are toxic because viewers can’t focus on the content. For marketers, the Ransom Note presentation technique is like a document zombie, sitting on the desktops of every sales person, waiting to rise from the dead and cannibalize your brand.
2. The Generic Audience Presentation
Knowing who your audience will be is essential because it helps you understand what your audience knows. Generic foundational PPT content can completely waste the time of an audience, which makes them less likely to be a customer. Customizing a presentation to best fit the desires, experience, or field of interest is vital to ensuring a presentation adds unique value. Nobody wants to be bored, so skip the intro-level theory and head into focused, grounded audience-aligned specifics.
3. The Unwavering Planner Presentation
Having a basic plan for a presentation is the first step in making an effective pitch. But often times you need to go off plan. Is the audience a bit different than expected? Was the last speech covering similar ground? The unstoppable planner doesn’t let a little thing called reality get in the way of their vision. They’ll follow their script, even if it bores everyone in an auditorium to death. A great pitch is built with flexibility in mind. Go with the flow and you’ll find audiences respond positively to respecting their time.
4. The Data Diva Presentation
Data is invaluable in making decisions. But a PPT argument that is solely data focused misses the true revelation: what hidden emotional benefits can this information stir inside your audience? For example, saving money is a data-focused value, but saving money so you and your family can enjoy more quality experiences together is the emotional revelation of that value. Summarizing this value in a clear way which is audience-aligned is the true challenge of a great power point presentation.
5. The Idea Hoarder Presentation
Any slide that has more than 50 words on a page is asking for trouble. The hoarder tries to cram in every detail into one package of pain, diluting their message. Hoarders love paragraphs, making their custom presentation into the next “Great American Novel”. They also love bullets, but only when they come in bulk. Hoarders tend to talk way too much, too long, and put everyone in the room to sleep. This presentation technique is the most popular, appearing in roughly 75% of all decks we see. Focused ideas are worth more than an avalanche of random presentation thoughts.
6. The Antique Presentation
Let’s be honest: your ideas are probably more cutting-edge than your presentation. But if your presentation design looks like it came from the 1920’s, your ideas might come under some heavy added scrutiny. Modern presentation design means powerful imagery, clear icons, subtle animation, and creative designs that feel like an elegant mobile app more than a PPTX. A slide that impresses before you say a single word not only improves audience reaction, it makes you feel more confident on the big stage. Leave the design antiques in the garage and step up to the podium with comfort.
7. The Trend Chaser Presentation
For a decade every corporate marketing team wanted to emulate Steve Jobs. Known for his effective presentation designs, Apple became the high-water mark every boardroom was measured against. VP’s wore identical clothes when presenting. They jammed “i” in front every product. And they tried their best to steal the simplified design aesthetic he brought to the masses. But like most things, a cheap copy is rarely as fun as a unique original. Trends are fine to follow, but being chained to them (or even worse suggesting that their the only way) is a fast track to being just like everyone else. The key to spotting a trend chaser is asking the question: what does our competition do? If you look just like the other guy, odds are your just a follower chasing a tired path.
8. The Improvisation Presentation
A presentation is a silent contract: it’s an exchange of your unique insight for an audience’s attention. Improvisation Presentations (and Improvisation Presenters) are time thieves. They don’t plan, they don’t practice, and they certainly don’t get feedback beforehand. They just figure their powerpoint presentation out on the fly, hoping their charm will win you over. But as anyone who’s been to an improv show can attest: it takes years of practice to refine these skills. This presentation technique can be memorable in all of the wrong ways. Leave improvisation to the trained experts, and put the effort in to show you value the time of those around you.
9. The Resume Puffer Presentation
It is important to establish one’s subject matter expertise before exploring the content of your presentation. But if the presentation focuses too much on an individual’s accomplishments it becomes a detriment. The Resume Puffer spends more time on trumpeting their successes than giving value to their audience, turning potential fans into eager enemies. Don’t let your giant ego be the elephant in the room that everyone is avoiding. Talk about your past experience briefly and directly, but then move on.
10. The Used Car Salesman Presentation
What are you really selling? Used Car Salesman Presentations only think about themselves, pitching useless offers to an unqualified audience. These PPT presentations often feature an array of products, hoping that if they pester you hard enough with each one you’ll cave in. Effective presentations aren’t won through grinding an audience down. With each word Used Car Salesman Presenters create a larger gap in between them and their viewers.
11. The Floaty Finisher Presentation
An effective PowerPoint presentation should leave its audience stirring to act. The worst possible end to a presentation is one without a focused call to action. In many ways, it is like a great movie with an awful ending – you leave the theater shaking with anger. Give your hungry audience a place to go right now to satiate their new hunger. The best calls to action are direct, on the screen for some time, and hyper clear what the audience will receive in exchange for their effort in reaching out.
12. The Mic Dropper Presentation
What is the most important part of a presentation? When it’s over. If you’ve inspired your audience some will be compelled to talk to you and ask questions. In many cases, these questions are for their benefit, allowing individuals to connect with you mentally and reaffirm their beliefs. Far too many top PPT presenters run from the podium after they leave, detracting from the actual magic that happens with a one-on-one. Be prepared to spend the time necessary to connect with individuals post presentation, addressing their needs honestly and with empathy. A two-minute conversation can be a life-changer in the right audience.
Creating effective and beautiful powerpoint presentations doesn’t have to be tough.
We hope you’ve found these most common presentation techniques useful for your next client conversation. But if you find yourself worrying too much, our team of expert presentation designers can always help. We’ll make your powerpoint design shine, while giving you honest storytelling advice along the way. Listen to presentation techniques from seasoned experts. Contact our team today and we’d love to help elevate your presentation vision.