Powerpoint Pet Peeve

This round of pet peeves is focused on the pet peeves I’ve accumulated around powerpoint slides.  Let me be clear, there are many amazing slides and these are my issues but you know me, always sharing:

  • Template:  Our minds are wired to ignore things that are the same.  So that branding you have in the same corner, slide after slide, guess what I’ve stopped paying attention to?  Yep, that brand.  I know, corporate requires using the template.  The compromise I’ve seen is where the template as a general same design/flow but the branding maybe moves corners, colors, etc.
  • Font Size: If you need 12 point font to get everything on the screen, you are writing a document not giving talk.  Your slides should enhance what you are saying, not say it for you.  And if you need all of that text, consider a handout. No one can read that small font on the screen.  My minimum size is 28 point and even that makes me nervous.
  • Over Season the Slide: There is a thing as too much seasoning and there is a thing as putting too much on one slide.  It’s distracting and will leave people wondering if they missed something, how to connect it all and/or overwhelmed with the firehose of information.
  • Under Season the Slide: There is also a thing of not enough seasoning. If you put random pictures up on the screen that have nothing to do with whatever your session is…please stop.  There is no requirement that you have to have slides.  Turn the projector off; honestly, it feels good!
  • Test Run: That black background and white font, doesn’t always look great on a huge screen.  Certain projectors can’t handle all colors.  I’ve personally had it backfire on me where key information was completely unreadable and had to manically change colors minutes before my session.  Do a test run of your session on a large projector.
  • Too Many:  If you have 30 mins, 30 slides is too many.  Give yourself room to breathe while delivering.  Give yourself ability to answer questions.
  • Variation:  Just like branding, if slide after slide looks identical (bullet list of 3 with an image on the right)…I’m getting sleepy.  One of the best things I ever did was asking some designers to help me with my slides.  What a world of difference (thanks Christina, Cody and Eric!).

As much as these are pet peeves, they are mine and as a leader that doesn’t mean I get to simply judge others. Instead, these serve as opportunities for others and for me to grow. If this stuff was easy, I wouldn’t be sharing.

What are your powerpoint pet peeves?

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