Sleeping audience at a boring business presentation

What NOT to do! Don’t kill your audience with Death by PowerPoint!

We’ve all been there! The presenter puts up the slide with 800 words and 5- point font and they say the famous words, “I know you can’t read this, but I’m going to show you anyway!” Ha! Ha! OMG! Don’t do this!


There are so many people overdoing the number of words, diagrams and data on their slides that the term ‘death by PowerPoint’ was invented. If it wasn’t so funny, I’d be crying right now at the number of awful slide decks corporate presenters use.

Now let’s not kid ourselves here. You know it’s not the best way to present your data. You know this! So, what are you doing? There is NO EXCUSE for awful slides that bamboozle your audience and cause what’s known as split-attention. Split attention is where the audience member doesn’t know where to look. Do they look at your slide or at you, the presenter?


There are two purposes that slides serve:

1. To help your audience understand your message more quickly than they would without visual aids.

2. To help your audience remember what you’ve said for longer.


Please don’t cause Death by PowerPoint!


What should you do instead?


1. Plan to use handouts where the data needs to be on one page (or one model) and where it’s so complex that you wouldn’t be able to read it from your seat.

2. Use photos and images where possible, not bullet points…the bigger the font, the better.
Remember that a picture paints a thousand words. If you choose to use slides, get rid of all bullet point slides and use graphs and charts and images as creatively as possible.


It’s not about the slides, it’s about you, the presenter, connecting with your audience through the words you say, the way you say them. Beautiful, clean, crisp visuals will reinforce your key messages and make you and it memorable for all the right reasons.

Happy Presenting!

© Michelle Bowden 2020.  Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best-selling internationally published author (Wiley), and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media.

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