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

6 Reasons Why Your PowerPoint Presentations (Still) Look Boring

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
posted by Geetesh on 9:30 AM IST

You must have something important to present. Otherwise; why bother giving the presentation in the first place? And as such, you probably have prepared the content of your message well. And you might have even prepared a PowerPoint presentation to accompany your talk. But does it stand out? Does it do justice to the point you want to bring across?

Or do your PowerPoint slides bring your talk down by being dull and boring?

Whenever you are in doubt about the visual impact of your slides, and there is this lingering thought somewhere “Hmm… these slides don't excite me… Could I have done better?”, please read on. I might have some clear pointers for you that your slides suffer from the most common pitfalls of boring slides. But don't worry, there are some easy ways even seasoned presenters use to fix these problems!

Why Do PowerPoint Presentations Look Boring?

If you yourself feel that your PowerPoint slides look boring, then don’t expect the audience to be too thrilled! Let us start by guessing why your presentation looks a lot less interesting than what you wanted.

For starters, are the backgrounds of your PowerPoint slides just plain white with black or even dark blue text? Is the typeface used either Arial, Verdana or Calibri? OK, there’s a predictable title on the top, and most of the slides have around 4 to 8 bullet points.

Sure, it could have been much worse, with unreadable yellow text on white backgrounds, but your slides are probably not really inspiring.

Your PowerPoint slides should help to hold the attention of your audience, keep them engaged, and on-track.

Let’s face the facts. Your presentation looks boring because 9 out of 10 PowerPoint presentations look eerily similar to the ones you are presenting. You do realize that this is a sad state of affairs for your audience, and they will not be delighted. They will be bored, again!

Well, now that you have consciousness of problems in your deck, here are six ways that show how you can fix these problems:

Fix 1: Don’t Use Default Fonts

Guess what, probably 95% of all PowerPoint presentations use either Arial, Verdana or Calibri typefaces. No, these are not survey findings but you will soon find it true if you look closely at the slides being created by others.

The solution, of course, is to use a different font.

You may get the best visual impact by using a non-default font on your computer. But you may run into problems if you share your presentation on other computers. Fortunately, you can find plenty of fonts that are installed on most computers, and are still not so widely used as Arial, Verdana or Calibri—think Corbel, Candara, Gill Sans MT, Georgia, and more.

Safe fonts
Surely you’ve seen a lot of these fonts before?
Image: Arnout Drenthel

Fix 2: Use Colored Slide Backgrounds

A white background with black or dark blue text is one of the best solutions for readability and a clean, ‘corporate’ look. But that’s exactly why everyone uses it!

The solution: One easy solution is to switch your backgrounds: make them dark (or use one of your corporate colors)—and then make your text white. That will give your slides extra visual impact since the dark background will allow your text to stand out.

Another advantage: Your slide won’t radiate as much white light. So it will be easier for your audience to look at you, instead of staring at your slide.

Colored slide backgrounds
Note that it is harder to let the white background can pop as much as the original red one!
Image: Arnout Drenthel

Fix 3: Use Original Slide Layouts

Most PowerPoint slides put a title on top and have one or two aligned blocks of content (usually text) below it.

The solution: Are those bullet points just there for your convenience, or do they really help the audience? Isn’t a good, short, clear title enough by itself? What if you just use a title, and place it at the bottom left, leaving a lot of empty space... wouldn’t that look better and clearer? Do experiment, and you will end up with more original slide layouts.

Use Original Slide Layouts
Why should titles be on the top of a slide?
Image: Arnout Drenthel

Fix 4: Don’t Use Too Many Words (and Bullet Points)

Slide after slide is filled with bullet points and text. So much so that PowerPoint automatically reduces the size of the text to fit all those words in.

Do you really think your audience wants to read all that text, while they’re also trying to listen to you?

The solution: There’s nothing wrong with a bulleted list where they help, but not on every slide!

Your slides shouldn’t just be a summary of your presentation. And you really don’t need to present 30 slides filled with lists!

Don’s Use Too Many Words
Use bulleted lists sparingly
Image: Arnout Drenthel

Fix 5: Don’t Use Mediocre Imagery

Poor-quality pictures won’t help your presentation.

The solution: Be critical of the quality of your photos. Choose high-resolution images, or opt for a different kind of slide.

And watch out for pictures that scream about their “we’ve seen you before” look. Clichéd photos that aren’t authentic (most stock photo sites are full of them) are a sure way to bore your audience. Do you really want to use another handshake or light bulb image? So if you use any images, make sure they’re high quality, fresh and attractive!

And you could consider making your own pictures. Most smartphones are capable of making high-quality photos and apply a nice filter. And I don’t mean you should just use your photos to fill in the blanks, but you can use them for all your photo slides. If you do that, it will also help you to get a more consistent style right through your presentation.

Fix 6: Don’t Add Footer Text on Every Slide

Although they don’t add anything to your compelling story, people often think that footer text on slides is a good idea. Well, everyone does it, don’t they? And we’re overloaded with unreadable small print. This takes up space!

The solution: Drop everything that has nothing to do with the main content of your presentation. Leave out all the footer text. For example, do slide numbers really add anything to your story? Think.

Just delete them or switch them off (Insert > Header & Footer). They’re barely readable (just like any other small text). And while you’re at it – and for the same reason – do you really need a logo on every slide…?

Does Your Presentation Look Similar To Your Colleague’s?

If you tend to wear your best suit for a presentation, making sure your hair and shoes are all looking good, you really should also take a good look at your slides. Don’t let them bring down your appearance and dull your audience.

So make sure your PowerPoint presentation doesn’t have that tired, ‘ordinary’ look. Dare to be different!

This blog post by Arnout Drenthel was first written in Dutch on the company blog of Bento Presentations. Arnout is a Dutch presentation consultant specializing in visual communication, and co-founder of Dutch presentation company, Bento Presentations. Bento creates professional presentations and coach and train public speakers in making and delivering powerful presentations themselves.

Labels: , , ,



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  |  

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