By Sharon Housley

A PowerPoint presentation can be an extremely valuable marketing tool for
businesses in this day and age. Here are a few common mistakes that you should
try to avoid when creating your presentations...

1. Excessive Animation

Excessive animation can really distract from a presentation. Keep animation to a
minimum. Transitions between slides may be appropriate, but a constantly-moving
animated image on a slide can make the text on the slide difficult to read, and
can distract the viewer from the message.

2. Content Stuffing

Attempting to include too much content on the slide can be frustrating for
audience members, who are trying to read the slide and listen to the
presentation at the same time. The PowerPoint slides should be used simply to
highlight and emphasize the talking points. Bulleted lists work great for this,
rather than blocks of full text that simply duplicate what the speaker is

3. Including Fancy Fonts

Not only are fancy fonts distracting and difficult to read, but many versions of
PowerPoint do not embed fonts by default -- which means that you may have a font
in your presentation that someone else, or another computer, does not have.

4. Speaking "At" The Audience Instead Of "To" Them

It is important that the presenter engage the audience. Simply reading the
PowerPoint slides will not result in a good or memorable presentation.

5. Unrelated Design Theme

Do not force your PowerPoint design to fit your topic. Instead, find a design
that is flexible and will enhance your presentation. There are literally
thousands of PowerPoint templates and backgrounds available, covering nearly any
topic. Finding a layout that meets your needs should not be too difficult. For
example, check out the PowerPoint backgrounds and layouts found at .

6. Inconsistency

The design theme should be consistent throughout the presentation. A consistent
presentation will flow much smoother and be more cohesive, as opposed to slides
with different graphic elements and backgrounds that can cause the audience to
focus more on the changing graphics and backgrounds than on the message itself.

7. Excessive Slides

The success of a presentation is not determined by the number of slides in the
presentation. More is not always better! Do not use an excessive number of
slides in your presentation if they aren't absolutely necessary.

8. Lack Of Preparation

Practice makes perfect. The best presentations are prepared and rehearsed well
in advance of the actual presentation. Make sure you prepare adequately, and
practice the presentation multiple times.

9. Not Testing Equipment

It makes sense to do a run-through of your presentation BEFORE the actual
presentation. Test the hardware, lens focus, microphones, etc, in advance. This
will allow you to catch and resolve any technical issues... without having to do
it in front of your audience.

10. Distributing Handouts

If you have handouts or promotional materials, wait until after the presentation
is completed to distribute them. Handing them out before or during the
presentation can disrupt the flow your presentation, and can result in the
audience becoming distracted.

11. Lack Of Confidence

A confident speaker who knows the material will win every time over a speaker
who lacks confidence.

12. No Connection

Connect with the audience by engaging them in the presentation. Maintain eye
contact with audience members while you are speaking.

13. Failure To Walk The Walk

Dress the part, because first impressions do matter. As they say, you should
always "dress for success." If you dress in a professional manner, your audience
will be more inclined to listen to your presentation, and will take you more

Making a public presentation is never easy for most of us, but avoiding the
above issues will help make your presentation much more successful and

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition
Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio
recording and editing software.