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Have you ever wondered how to effectively engage your audience and spur them to action after a presentation?

You could have great and insightful content; you are a great presenter. But people are not engaged as you expect they would be. The problem could have lie on your presentation slides.

In this article, we highlight 5 mistakes which people are still making when creating sales and public speaking decks. Each mistake is accompanied by an illustration – each of which is based on actual presentations. By the end of this article, we hope you will understand why we chose to highlight these mistakes, and hopefully have an idea for how to overcome them.

Mistake #1 – Using Bullets

We strongly believe that bullets only belong in two places – in the gun range, and on printed documents. With so many different ways to present information today, it comes as a surprise that many people are still using bullets to present information.

Not only are they boring to look at, but people have a tendency to cram as many bullets as they can into one slide (more on this later). Put yourself in the shoes of your audience – how would YOU feel if you had to endure an hour of looking at such slides?

(Related: 3 Key Considerations and Tips in Creating Impactful Infographics)

Mistake #2 – Poorly Illustrated Diagrams

Not only do poorly illustrated diagrams look like electrical circuit boards, they FAIL to guide your audience’s visual flow through the diagram, resulting in audiences who get lost in the information and thus, are unlikely to remember much of what is communicated.

It is not uncommon to see an aesthetically well-designed presentation housing a few poorly illustrated diagrams. Think of it this way – if you were to watch a movie, how would you feel if the editing and effects in certain scenes of the movie felt cheap?

Mistake #3 – Inconsistent Design Language Used in Decks

Going back to the movie analogy from before – how would you feel if you were watching a movie which doesn’t have a clear definition of its genre?

Looking at the illustration above, you might think that each is from a different presentation. Here’s the shocker – they are all from the same presentation, conducted by the same person. A deck which lacks a clear design language is no different from a movie which has multiple directors – each has their own vision and aims to fulfill it, and the one who pays is the audience, who has to sit through the show.

Mistake #4 – Unoriginal Content

Picture this – you are sitting in a presentation and a slide flashes on the screen with a diagram you’ve seen somewhere on the web. Now, picture this – you head to the next presentation, and see the same diagram again.

In most public presentations, it is not uncommon to see diagrams or illustrations plucked from the web. There’s nothing wrong with that (as long as attribution is given where it is due), except for the fact that the presentation then comes across as being a little less interesting, especially if someone else is presenting the same thing in the same day.

Mistake #5 – Cramming Too Much Information in A Single Slide

The last, and greatest mistake in presentations is one which has been made for 30 years – overloading a slide with information. An overloaded slide can appear daunting for your audience, especially when they are given huge amounts of information to process.

Always remember that presentations are opportunities to communicate with your audience, and so the goal should always be to make information easily digestible for them and for presentations to be enjoyable.

If You Are Currently Making These Mistakes, It’s Not the End of The World

The first step to learning is understanding what can be improved. To some extent, we are all guilty of making these mistakes at one point or another. To help you overcome these challenges and create better presentations, you can attend our 2-Day hands-on and content-packed workshop: Create Impactful Powerpoint Presentations that Captivate & WoW Your Audience. With constant practice and guidance, we believe that you too will be wow-ing your audience in no time!


Ezekiel Ho – Meisterklasse