I remember my first PPT presentation for a media training for a group of NGOs. I created a slide for literally every part of the one hour-long training, in urm, full sentences. The result, nearly 50 slides!
That memory still haunts me with fresh horror; and it seems us professionals haven’t got much better at making presentations.
A recent report by David Paradi, “2017 Survey of Annoying Power Point Survey”, shows that not much has changed in the last decade or so.
While usage of PPTs have risen, 74 % of people interviewed for the survey report seeing at least one to two PPTs every business week ( more than double over the last ten years); the common traps remain the same.
Says Rishi Bammi, PR consultant for startups, “The most annoying mistake is too much of text in the presentation. This text has become a trend for every ineffective presenter.”
Rajni Daswani, director & head of brand experience at SoCheers Infotech says another mistake that people make during presenting is, “Reading out from the slides. The text on the slides is only supposed to be a prompter for the presenter to add on & explain the concepts better. “
Research bears this out. According to the survey, the following are the top four most annoying habits of PPT presenters:
Richa Mehta, associate manager with ‘Perfect Relations’ says irrelevant clutter is annoying. Mehta’s pet peeve is too much creativity. She says, “ There are presentations which have boring templates and to make them a little interesting, have seen people using all sorts of animations. There are transitions used in between slides which even have those sounds when you toggle.”
One of the biggest issues during presentations is the sheer volume of informations. This word cloud, created by David Paradi’s ‘ Think beyond the slide’, shows common reactions to most PPTs. It includes words like ‘Boring’ and ‘Long’ and err, ‘Death’ ! Death by PPT am guessing:).
Daswani says that long PPTs don’t work, pointing out, “The shorter and crisper your content is in communicating your message, the better the chances of a positive response from the client. Longer PPTs tend to cause a loss of attention & hence your point sometimes doesn't get across properly.”
Is the less is more rule useful?
However, Paradi, while agreeing about focused content says presentations don’t have to follow the ‘Less is more’, rule. He says, “ Blindly cutting content to achieve “less” content is not useful. Focusing the content so the audience gets the key message is useful.”
Paradi also says not to worry too much about the number of slides. He quotes respondents to the survey as saying that, “This often leads to packed slides that overwhelm and confuse the audience because the presenter doesn’t reduce the amount of content, they simply jam it into fewer slides. I don’t think the number of slides has anything to do with the effectiveness of a presentation [article link]. The clarity of the message and concise, clear slides help make a presentation effective.”