2 Slides That are Ruining Your Damn PowerPoint Presentation

presentation trollSome people say that you shouldn’t have more than 10 slides in your PowerPoint presentation. And as you probably know it’s not that easy to fit within these boundaries, but there are couple of things that will help you to achieve this goal, so let me give you some PowerPoint presentation tips.

You can start with checking if some of the valuable space in your presentations is not being occupied by these two trolls (oops… I mean slides).

  1. “Agenda / Presentation Plan” slide
  2. “Thank You For Your Attention” slide

These are usually the second and the last slide in your PowerPoint presentation.

Why should you avoid them? Not only because they take these two valuable spots in your 10-slide-presentation, but what’s more important – they can completely RUIN your whole presentation (especially the first one – the agenda). Oh, one additional tip – start your presentation with punch.

I know you’re wondering why, so here’s the explanation

Let’s start with an example. Imagine that you went to the cinema. You’ve taken your seat, and right after that a guy stands up, and gives a short speech in a step-by-step manner on what the movie is about. He uses stuff like bullet points, and doesn’t skip any of the most important action changes. He even says several words about how the movie ends. Do you still feel the need to watch this movie or maybe you think that this guy ruined the whole fun?

Presentation is not some kind of vehicle for delivering reports or other raw data (you’re better off sending an email if that’s the case). Presentation is a way of changing the minds of your audience. To show them your point of view, and do it in a way that they didn’t expect – take them by surprise. The “Presentation Plan” slide screws you completely…

Let me tell you what does a typical presentation look like. Just a moment after everybody has taken their seats, the guy who will be presenting introduces himself and his topic, and then he shows the “Presentation Plan”. The audience gets familiar with it, and then they stop paying attention and start to take care of their own stuff (you know… they fell asleep, read a newspaper, play with their iPhone, stuff like that), it happens almost immediately. And they no longer listen to whatever the guy has to say, because they don’t have to… The Presentation Plan gave them all the information they needed, and even in a shortened review-like form.

And now the second part of my PowerPoint presentation tips – the “Thank You” slide. This is a typical cliffhanger. A slide that will remain being displayed throughout the whole discussion which will probably take place after the presentation has been done.

Do you really want your audience to stare at a stupid “thank you for your attention, are there any questions” slide for 10 or 15 minutes?

The last slide gives you some power. Firstly, it lets you finish your presentation with a strong statement, and secondly, it gives the possibility to guide the discussion in a certain direction.

Let’s expand on the latter. If I use my last slide to show something that’s interesting and intriguing enough and in addition it’s incomplete (it doesn’t show the full image of the case), then the first question will probably have something to do with that slide. And you won’t fool me… there’re always some questions which you would like to hear, and others which you wouldn’t. So why not telling the audience (subconsciously) what the first question should be?

After getting rid of these trolls (oops… again, I mean slides) you have two brand new free spots in your presentation, and you need to fill them in quickly – hurray! … Well OK, I’m not really a big fan of the “10-slide” rule because I believe that you should use the exact number of slides that will let you show the full spectrum of the issue. Not one more or one less… but I guess I’ll just leave this matter for the next time.

I’m sure you have other ideas for unnecessary slides (a.k.a. trolls) or some cool PowerPoint presentation tips of your own. I hope you’ll let me know in the comments.

In fact, I’d like to ask you one more thing: What do you think about the very first slide – the title. Should it be present, and if so in what form?

7 thoughts on “2 Slides That are Ruining Your Damn PowerPoint Presentation”

  1. That’s one idea.

    I personally think that the title itself is not that important. What is important is what you want to say, the content. In the end the title doesn’t really matter.

  2. do u think starting a powerpoint presentation without an introduction to the topic and making audience think about something else rather what u r trying to say!!!
    I feel this should be adopted when u r dealing with a familiar topic!!
    I personally feel!!!

  3. I think that it’s your task to explain the topic in some clever way. The audience doesn’t have to be 100% sure about what your trying to say. They just have to be interested and curious about what will happen next.

  4. The other slide I hate is the company history/awards/qualifications slide. If you are presenting, it is assumed you are qualified already. I also don’t care about your whole history.

  5. I love this post! One of the things we do at the writing center is place information on our slides, so while people are coming in to the room, they can see a plug about us. A reason to have a title slide? It probably is not needed at all in a live presentation, and you can hide it, but it’s good for when you post slides online to serve as a show. Also, when you give a talk, it’s not a bad idea to turn the slides off or blank out the screen at some points. Thanks for a great post–and some wonderful ideas, especially on the last slide.

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