The World’s Worst PowerPoint?

worst ppt

Here at pptXTREME, we spend a lot of time thinking about PowerPoint. Most of the time, we’re thinking about how things can be made better. But sometimes, we need to remember how bad it can get.

We recently located a what-not-to-do slideshow aptly called “Quite Possibly the World’s Worst PowerPoint Presentation.” It’s a series of truly awful slides, followed by detailed breakdowns as to what it’s doing wrong – and why. 

The examples are pretty extreme, and while the argument from the absurd can be an effective one, we wondered if perhaps this presentation paints the wrong picture as to what makes a presentation go bad. Because as much as illegible text and image-heavy slides can ruin a presentation, there are subtler things to worry about.

1)     Unavailable fonts

Make sure you embed your fonts in your presentation if you aren’t going to be presenting it from your own laptop. Even the best-designed presentation is ruined when the program reverts to the default font; Myriad doesn’t look good anywhere, folks. You don’t want all your hard work ruined because you didn’t have the foresight to bring your fonts with you.

2)     Misaligned objects

Even if your content is killer and your graphic elements are on point, your presentation will still look sloppy and amateurish if your objects aren’t properly lined up. You could do it manually – but why would you? PPT can do it for you. Select the objects you want to align by shift-clicking them, select “Arrange” in the top options bad, then “Align or Distribute,” and then just pick your preferred alignment.

3)     Color scheme

Look. If you’re not great with colors, stick with black and white. It’s universally effective, and most people won’t ever notice. You’re going to be using images and multimedia anyway, so don’t distract from it. If you are planning on using color – stick to two or three colors max – a background, a text, and an accent. And never, everuse Christmas or Halloween colors or anything like that. It’s gaudy and childish.

So black and white? Black and white.

4)     The slides are not your topic

Lastly, and this is the most important one – your slides are not your topic. Don’t jam everything onto them and then read off them. Don’t expect the audience to glean everything they need from them. You’re giving the presentation, and the only reason the slides are there is to help you drive your points home more effectively. Don’t treat them as the be-all end-all of the conversation you’re having with your audience, because that will ruin your presentation more effectively than anything listed here.

These aren’t the most dramatic things to be on the lookout for, and that’s what makes them important. The big things you can see a mile away – but it’s the small mistakes that can make a great presentation fall flat on its face.


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