Business development · 29 November 2018

Slide success: 7 common mistakes to avoid in your PowerPoint presentations

Slides were invented to help presenters deliver their message more effectively
Public speaking specialist, Hanieh Vidmar, helps entrepreneurs deliver effective business presentations by revealing the seven mistakes commonly made on PowerPoint slides.

Delivering presentations is one of the most effective tools to use for business, self-development and for leveraging time and knowledge. it’s one of the most powerful ways to deliver a message and create an impact. Ive delivered hundreds of presentations in my career and I plan to deliver many, many more. Ive been an audience member many times too and I can’t tell you how many times Ive seen speakers destroy their presentation with bad use of their slides.

According to some sources, approximately 35 million PowerPoint presentations are created each day! That’s a lot of PowerPoint presentations. Yet many of those presentations fail due to lack of knowledge on how to use a slide deck effectively and use it to the speakers advantage.

Slides are there to support you and your presentation and were invented to help presenters deliver their message more effectively and save time when using visual aids. Can you imagine having to constantly write on a whiteboard throughout your presentation? A slide deck can really be your best friend if you use it correctly.

I see the same mistakes over and over. In this article, Im going to share 7 common errors presenters make when it comes to using slides in their PowerPoint presentations.

  1. Too many slides

Have you ever been to a presentation where the speaker seems to have far too many slides? Either extra ones they havent bothered to edit out from previous presentations or just too many to illustrate what they’re saying. If you really need 101 slides, go ahead. But if you can, try to reduce the number down.

Check for redundant slides and try to convey a few points per slide to reduce the number you need to scroll through while you’re speaking. And remember, you don’t have to have a slide to illustrate every single thing you plan to say.

As long as you’re well prepared, you can absolutely deliver a message without having a slide to back it up. As a general rule, the fewer slides you have, the better.

  1. Too much text

Another common error is chunks of text on a slide or a long list of bullet points. This is boring and unproductive. Your audience will stop paying attention to you and start focusing on your slide or your audience won’t read your slide because they’re listening to you.

Some audience members are adamant to copy everything they see and in turn, stop listening to you. Too much text on a slide is information overload and creates a negative impact in your presentation. One sentence, a few words or a keyword is the amount of text that should be on each slide. Your audience are there to hear and watch your presentation not read your presentation.

  1. Colour clash

Using the wrong colours together can be illegible and cause headaches for the person looking at it. Avoid using dark text on a dark background. The less colours you use, the better it is.

Choosing your brand colours on a light or white background is far more effective than filling in the background with various colours and being all fancy with the presentation. You won’t get any browny points for showing the audience that you know how to play with colours on a slide deck. Keep it simple!

  1. Inconsistency

One thing that irritates me is inconsistency on slides. Ive seen slides that have different fonts, font sizes, layouts and random colours. The layout, branding and design need to be consistent throughout. Staying consistent will allow your audience to focus on you and your message rather than start thinking about why every slide is different from the one before.

  1. Messy slides

Having slides that are messy, uneven and askew can be quite a distraction. Creating slides with an even layout is super easy. You have guidelines that assist you in centering images and texts. don’t place image and text just anywhere. Keep your slides neat and tidy as doing so shows that you’ve made an effort with your presentation.

  1. Sepllnig mstikase

you’ve heard there’s no such thing as perfect? many times and it’s true to an extent but the spelling on your slides must be perfect! If spelling isnt your strongest point, ask someone to check your slides for you.



Hanieh Vidmar is a speaker, trainer and former TV Presenter. She's delivered pitches on behalf of other companies, won contracts and raised over ?1m in funds. Her goal is to help as many people overcome their fears of public speaking so they can achieve bigger and better goals with confidence.

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