death by powerpoint

Are you guilty of Death By PowerPoint?

PowerPoint is an invaluable, powerful and exciting tool for creating presentation visual aids that transform average speakers into masterful presenters. Or is it? Some slides have been so dreadful and tortuous over the years that the phrase ‘death by PowerPoint’ was coined. Let’s make sure you don’t cause ‘death by PowerPoint’ when you present. Let’s make sure you use your slides to set yourself up to be the best presenter you can be!

Try the, ‘Will my slides cause death?' test:

1. Do you lack confidence as a presenter? Would you be horrified at the thought of presenting to an audience without the use of visual aids?

2. Are you guilty of using PowerPoint slides to take the focus off yourself?

3. Do you use PowerPoint slides as convenient palm-cards? Do you find yourself looking back at your slides to remember what to say?

4. Do you use PowerPoint to write your presentation?

5. Do you try to use the entire functionality of PowerPoint as a way of improving your presentation? (Have you even sent your Personal or Executive Assistant on a PowerPoint training program?)


If you find yourself answering ‘YES’ to these questions, then there is a good chance you have been relying on slides to carry you as a presenter, rather than simply as a visual aid to highlight the key messages for your audience. You may have great technical skill in designing visual aids, but it may well be at the expense of connecting properly with your audience.


A reminder that slides are to reinforce your key messages for your audience. They are NOT to remind you what to say next! 

What is the purpose of slides? What should they look like?

Yes, et me repeat!  Ha ha!  The purpose of slides is to reinforce your key messages, not to remind you, the presenter, what to say next.


Slides have the potential to create a visual, kinesthetic and maybe even an auditory connection with your audience. In other words, they help stimulate your audience in a variety of ways that will help them to remember your content.

I have listed my 10 tips for designing slides to help you to be a powerful presenter who uses slides as an aid to engage and influence your audience.

Top 10 tips for designing beautiful slides!

1. Ask my favourite question: ‘Is this the BEST way to visually reinforce this point?’ © 

2. If they can’t read it don’t show it.

3. Minimum 30pt font.

5. Replace words with pictures as often as possible.

6. Colour code graphs so you can manage people’s attention by referring to the colours 0on the slide. i.e. ‘in red you will see…’

7. Use beautiful clever images, not overused, tired ones. Try: or

8. Build busy slides one part at a time so you can direct people’s attention to just the thing you’re talking about – one thing at a time.l.

9. No red and green on the slide. People with colour-blindness see only brown and brown (not red and green).

10. Don’t use underline, italics, bold or shadow on your fonts. Only use key words on your slides and change the colour of the font if you must highlight a word.

I know you know this! Pretty much everyone knows this. Yet unbelievably people are still killing their audiences with a slow and painful ‘death by PowerPoint’. 

Let’s make a pact today to rid the world of busy slides! I empower YOU to do your part!

Happy Presenting! 

© MICHELLE BOWDEN CSP is an authority on persuasive presenting in business. She’s run her Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass over 950 times for more than 12,000 people over the past 23 years and her name is a synonym for ‘presentation skills’ in Australia. She’s a multi-million-dollar pitch coach to her client list that reads like a who’s who of international business: banking and finance, IT, pharmaceutical, retail, telecommunications plus many more. Michelle is the creator of the Persuasion Smart Profile®, a world-first psychological assessment tool that reports on your persuasive strengths and weaknesses at work, the best-selling internationally published author of How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting live and online (Wiley) and her new book is called How to Persuade: the skills you need to get what you want (Wiley). Visit


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