This is the print version of this page. All content is copyright Indezine.com 2000- .



Annoying PowerPoint Survey Results: Conversation with Dave Paradi

Monday, October 03, 2011
posted by Geetesh on 1:13 PM IST





Dave ParadiDave Paradi helps presenters communicate more effectively by using persuasive PowerPoint presentations. He has published over 240 issues of his bi-weekly newsletter, produced more than 70 slide makeover video podcasts and appears in media regularly. Dave recently held his biennial survey on what annoys people about PowerPoint presentations.

In this conversation, Dave discusses the results of this survey.

Geetesh: Tell us about the results of your "What annoys you about bad PowerPoint presentations?" survey -- and what are the top annoyances?

Dave: As I analyzed the responses and comments in the survey, a clear theme emerged. Audiences are fed up with presenters who fill their slides with too much content and are then compelled to read it all to those seated in the room.

Let’s look at the responses first and then the comments.

In looking at what the 603 respondents said were their top three annoyances, it was clear that reading the slides is by far the top thing that presenters do that annoys their audience. This has been in top spot for all five of the surveys I have done going back to 2003. Moving up one spot from the last survey, the second most annoying thing is the presenter filling the slides with full sentences of information instead of summarizing the key messages in bullet points. And rounding out the top three, is the presenter using fonts that are too small to read, probably because they are cramming too much information on the slide.

Here are the top five annoyances along with the percentage of respondents that selected them as one of their top three:

  1. The speaker read the slides to us -- 73.8%
  2. Full sentences instead of bullet points -- 51.6%
  3. The text was so small I couldn’t read it -- 48.1%
  4. Slides hard to see because of color choice -- 34.0%
  5. Overly complex diagrams or charts -- 26.0%

Geetesh: Based on these results, what advice will you give to presenters?

Dave: It is clear that the top three annoyances are separated from the rest by a significant distance and are clearly the areas presenters need to focus on. And yet, I think that these are only symptoms of the bigger issue of information overload. When a presenter feels that they have to include everything they have done or all they know on this topic, the slides will be a confusing mass of text and numbers that give the audience no clue on what the important takeaway should be. Presenters need to make better decisions on what content to include in a presentation so that the message is clear and understood.

There are three major themes that need to be observed here:

First, comments from the survey respondents reinforced my conclusion that the root cause of the annoying behaviors was really due to presenters attempting to cram too much information in to the presentation. Many commented that presentations have become reports that are read to the audience. It is a trend that I am seeing in my workshops as well. Attendees are asking how to determine what should go in and what should be left out of the presentation. Because they are unsure, they default to including everything. Another contributing factor is the need to send the presentation by e-mail to those who could not attend the live presentation. In order to make the presentation make sense, the presenter basically writes their script on the slides. This will be a key area of focus in my writing and work over the next year. I am starting to teach strategies for questioning each piece of content to determine if it really contributes to the goal of the presentation. I am also teaching ways to include additional detail that is not on the slides presented during the live presentation, but is available when the slide file is sent to others (or used as a record of what was presented at the meeting).

The next theme is that presenters need to be better prepared to deliver the presentation. Some of the comments related to presenters who did not create the slides themselves and had not practiced with them before the presentation. The presenter ends up reading the slides and is not able to add anything to what is written on the slide. Audiences feel that this shows a lack of respect. Presenters need to be familiar with their presentation and invest the time to rehearse and make the presentation their own, even if the slides were prepared by someone else. Respondents also commented on presenters who lack the skills or knowledge of how to speak effectively or don’t know how to use the equipment when presenting. If you aren’t comfortable speaking or don’t know how the equipment should be used, ask someone. Get some training so that you don’t embarrass yourself at the front of the room.

The third theme was the continuing problem of poorly designed slides. From poor color choices to unreadable fonts, to spelling and grammar errors, the basics are still not being understood by too many presenters. If the content of the slide can’t be understood because of poor design, there is no way it can be an aid to the presenter. You don’t have to be a designer to create slides that are visually appealing. Select colors that have enough contrast, use sans-serif fonts in large enough sizes, and double check all text on your slide before presenting. When the presenter doesn’t even bother to get these basics correct, the audience feels that the presenter doesn’t care about the presentation, and the audience will naturally be less willing to listen and act upon the message the presenter is giving.

See Also: What Annoys You About Bad PowerPoint Presentations?: Conversation with Dave Paradi

Categories: interviews, opinion, powerpoint, survey

Labels: , , ,

Comments

Amen! I routinely tell my clients any number of variations on what Mr. Paredi talks about in this interview. Many people just don't seem to understand the great design maxim of "Less is More." I'm very glad that now I have the data to back this claim!

Posted by OpenID lmfdesign on Tuesday, October 04, 2011 8:42:00 PM
Permalink to this comment

 


Post a Comment





Archives

April 2003  |   May 2003  |   December 2003  |   January 2004  |   February 2004  |   March 2004  |   April 2004  |   May 2004  |   June 2004  |   July 2004  |   August 2004  |   September 2004  |   October 2004  |   November 2004  |   December 2004  |   January 2005  |   February 2005  |   March 2005  |   April 2005  |   May 2005  |   June 2005  |   July 2005  |   August 2005  |   September 2005  |   October 2005  |   November 2005  |   December 2005  |   January 2006  |   February 2006  |   March 2006  |   April 2006  |   May 2006  |   June 2006  |   July 2006  |   August 2006  |   September 2006  |   October 2006  |   November 2006  |   December 2006  |   January 2007  |   February 2007  |   March 2007  |   April 2007  |   May 2007  |   June 2007  |   July 2007  |   August 2007  |   September 2007  |   October 2007  |   November 2007  |   December 2007  |   January 2008  |   February 2008  |   March 2008  |   April 2008  |   May 2008  |   June 2008  |   July 2008  |   August 2008  |   September 2008  |   October 2008  |   November 2008  |   December 2008  |   January 2009  |   February 2009  |   March 2009  |   April 2009  |   May 2009  |   June 2009  |   July 2009  |   August 2009  |   September 2009  |   October 2009  |   November 2009  |   December 2009  |   January 2010  |   February 2010  |   March 2010  |   April 2010  |   May 2010  |   June 2010  |   July 2010  |   August 2010  |   September 2010  |   October 2010  |   November 2010  |   December 2010  |   January 2011  |   February 2011  |   March 2011  |   April 2011  |   May 2011  |   June 2011  |   July 2011  |   August 2011  |   September 2011  |   October 2011  |   November 2011  |   December 2011  |   January 2012  |   February 2012  |   March 2012  |   April 2012  |   May 2012  |   June 2012  |   July 2012  |   August 2012  |   September 2012  |   October 2012  |   November 2012  |   December 2012  |   January 2013  |   February 2013  |   March 2013  |   April 2013  |   May 2013  |   June 2013  |   July 2013  |   August 2013  |   September 2013  |   October 2013  |   November 2013  |   December 2013  |   January 2014  |   February 2014  |   March 2014  |   April 2014  |   May 2014  |   June 2014  |   July 2014  |   August 2014  |   September 2014  |   October 2014  |   November 2014  |   December 2014  |   January 2015  |   February 2015  |   March 2015  |   April 2015  |   May 2015  |   June 2015  |   July 2015  |   August 2015  |   September 2015  |   October 2015  |   November 2015  |   December 2015  |   January 2016  |   February 2016  |   March 2016  |   April 2016  |   May 2016  |   June 2016  |   July 2016  |   August 2016  |   September 2016  |   October 2016  |   November 2016  |   December 2016  |  




Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Home | PowerPoint | Photoshop | PowerPoint Templates | PowerPoint Tutorials | Blog | Notes | Ezine | Advertise | Feedback | Site Map | About Us | Contact Us

Link to Us | Privacy | Testimonials

PowerPoint Backgrounds | Christian PowerPoint Backgrounds | Business PowerPoint Presentation Templates

Plagiarism will be detected by Copyscape

©2000-2016, Geetesh Bajaj. All rights reserved.

since November 02, 2000