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

Death by PowerPoint is where the presenter just clicks through one slide after the other and you feel like you’re dying a thousand deaths. When you’re in the audience isn’t it so boring? It’s also a gigantic waste of your time. It’s even a waste of the presenter’s time! You won’t listen properly when you’re being bombarded by slides. You won’t remember anything much from the presentation. And you most certainly won’t change your behaviour in the way the presenter hoped.

The objective of a good presentation is to change your audience’s thinking and/or behaviour. When you are presenting, causing Death by PowerPoint in your audience won’t help you one bit!


And that doesn’t mean you have to ditch your slides all together. Slides can be a very powerful way to reinforce your key messages, and to make you memorable for all the right reasons. You just have to use it well.

What should you do instead?

Awesome presentations don’t start with slides. They follow a strategic approach that includes:

1. Analysing your audience and working out both their current state and your desired state for them.
2. Designing a compelling message following a formula that works.
3. Then designing any accompanying visual aids, and this is where you create your gorgeous slides with memorable images and clever graphs and charts that emphasise the key points.


Here are my tips for you:

1. Dramatically reduce the number of slides you use.
2. Replace words with pictures as much as possible.
3. Rule of 3 for bullet point slides: 3 bullet points per slide, 3 words per point.
4. Use a minimum of 30pt font.
5. Use sentence case on slides.
6. No bold, underline, shadow or italics.
7. Use for pictures or pay for your images.
8. Only reproduce the important parts of graphs.
9. Colours have meaning – use colour carefully.
10. Ensure any sounds/music add value to your message.


Now your presentation is something people want to attend. They’ll be engaged from the start and compelled to take the action you require. Fantastic work!


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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