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Why Everyone Hates PowerPoint

Everyone hates PowerPoint. PowerPoint is evil. Not the software itself. The way that people use it. We hate the way that you are using it. So either use it properly. Or please please stop.

Actually, Harvard University will back me up when they recently announced that PowerPoint might damage information communication and reduce what people think of your brand.

Aye, that and it's terrifically boring. Mainly because people stand looking at it and reading it at the same time. As if we can't read it. PowerPoint presentations full of text are anathema to great communication. Do NOT under ANY circumstances fill your presentation slides with text.

PowerPoint is there to illustrate your point for you. A clever way to make a visual impact on your audience and to do something visually that you couldn't do with your words or voice.

It is NOT for writing text. It isn't even for putting the main points up for people to see them.

It is to do more than your words can do.

Pick an image, or even a video that makes a point for you. One of my clients cleverly used a tiny video clip from the film The Three Amigos to make her point. And it worked superbly.

The feeling people have watching your boring powerpoint

But if you MUST use PowerPoint for a presentation, here are some tips on using Powerpoint well:

1) Don't. Oh, okay, I said if you must use it in a presentation, read below.

2) Font. Please please please use plain fonts like Arial or Helvetica, they are easier to read. If you must use a decorative font, use it only for decorative purposes. If you want to communicate use a sans serif font in your Powerpoint presentation.

3) Keep Every Slide Sparse. Keep your slides very clean and simple. An image. An illustration. A Diagram or a few words. But when you start combining these, it will all turn into a busy mess.

4) Never Use ClipArt in your Presentations. Because it's rubbish. Looks cheap. And will make you look like a cheap moron. You can get free pictures from

5) Guy Kawasaki has a great rule for his presentations. He said a Powerpoint presentation should be no more than 10 minutes, have no more than 20 slides and the font should be no smaller than 30 size.

6) Let Pixar do the Animations. Animations look swish for presenting to your parents, but most animation looks cheap and tacky. Use it very sparsely in your presentations and if you think it might look tacky, don't use it.

7) You Not the Deck. The Slides are NOT the focus of the presentation. Don't build your speech around the PowerPoint presentations. The slides are there to illustrate your key points. To reinforce. To illustrate. To hit home. Keep the focus on you by using PowerPoint sparingly.

The Very Best

Mark Westbrook - Public Speaking and Presentations Coach

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