How to avoid 'Death by PowerPoint'

You have been warned! 'Death by PowerPoint' is a term referred to bad presentations as the name suggests. Have you ever sat through a presentation that puts you to sleep or seems like never-ending torture? Well, all of us have been there, done that. Text-heavy slides, dysfunctional graphics, disconnect between the presenter and the deck, etc. are some attributes of such presentations. The term, 'Death by PowerPoint' is attributed to Angela R. Garber, who has successfully summarized everything that could go wrong in a performance. Over the years, presenter coaches and gurus have crafted several tips and tricks to avoid Death by PowerPoint. Here are some:

1. The KISS Rule

Keep it Simple, Stupid! A misconception persists due to which most people inundate their slides with irrelevant content and dense texts. An essential tip to avoid this trap is to start eliminating all words and graphics one-by-one from a slide and stop at the point where you feel the message get either vague or altered in delivery.

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2. 1-6-6 Rule

One idea, six bullet points, and no more than six words. This magical number which is also used in a 1-5-5 or 1-7-7 pair is a one-stop solution to minimize texts in your deck. If strictly followed, these number patterns can help you deliver a clear and persuasive message.

3. Be a story-teller

Disconnected decks are a mood-killer. If the audience is not able to draw a coherent picture and relate to the overall message of the presentation, then you have missed the mark. It is important to create a narrative and deliver it in a story-telling style with effective use of pathos and ethos.


4. Introduce a breather

Too much information at once could bog down your audience leaving them confused and in flux. To avoid such a situation, one should make his presentation digestible in a bit-size form with constant recaps to reiterate the central idea and prevent the audience from derailing during the presentation.