How NOT To Use Power Point

While powerpoint can sometimes be a helpful addition to a speech…it is easy to abuse.  Though the link below is a comedy act by Don McMillan, I think it accurately highlights the problems with Power Point:

-Reading directly from the slides

-Too much animation

-Spelling errors

-Choosing inappropriate fonts

-Too much text on one slide….etc etc


Ali Sehringer


10 comments so far

  1. dupublicaddress on

    I love the fact that he mentions people tend to not proof their slides. It’s so true! They think that because it’s not a formal paper, they don’t have to pay as much attention to editing. Excessive bulleting is also an issue! You begin to lose focus on what they’re trying to say and wonder why there are so many points. This is similar to loading a slide with a ton of text- the speaker can’t speak quick enough to keep up with the audience’s reading, which is very frustrating to the audience. Also, the obnoxious colored slides are a particular pet peeve of mine…c’mon, is it REALLY necessary to make your slides electric yellow? If the goal is to blind your audience, you win! Keep it simple and concise! Giana Gregga

  2. pipkin6320 on

    I understand how power point slides can be excessive and harm the speech more than help it. Although, I believe there is a time and place that power point slides can help a lot in a speech IF used correctly. We discussed in class how CEOs are known to use slides that mask their speech. But without any visual aid it would at times be hard to show a point or trend in data. That is not to say the figures should take over the speech, but there is something to be said for a figure being used in a scientific speech to give validity to research developments. Simply stating what they found in the study would not be enough.

    • dupublicaddress on

      This is definitely a good point…Power Point, when used correctly, can be a helpful addition to certain speeches. The problem is, many people do not know how to effectively use Power Point. There is a fine line between using Power Point to drive home your point and abusing Power Point to the point where the audience is so distracted they have no idea what point you are trying to make. As long as speakers understand how to use Power Point it can be a very useful in speeches by engaging the audience and allowing the speaker to communicate both a visual and verbal message. – Ali Sehringer

  3. Amanda on

    I completely agree with his points. In one of my classes, we have been giving speeches with PowerPoint for the last few weeks and I have seen so many of these mistakes made, and it really distracts from the content of the speech. They are science presentations, so the slides are definitely useful in reporting the numbers, but people will then read all the numbers off the slide — it is way too difficult for the audience to follow when the numbers are read right off the presentation (it just ends up sounding like the speaker is rambling off a list of meaningless numbers), and it makes the statistics sound confusing even when they made perfect sense written! The speakers who gave the best presentations mentioned the numbers quickly, but didn’t read them all — the audience did that on their own, and the slides served their purpose — to SUPPORT the presentation. And a few of the presenters made the mistake of using colors and backgrounds that were close together, which made it difficult to read. This makes the audience strain so much to read the slides that they not only can’t read what the slides say, but they are too distracted to listen to the speaker. I think the video really touched on some of the common mistakes people made — mistakes I have seen day after day recently!

  4. jakubowskic on

    This is such a great clip because it really does address how people misuse PowerPoint. I personally use PowerPoint very often for Biology class presentations for obvious reasons. Typically my slides consist of relevant figures and tables to various scientific papers. In this case most of the slides don’t actually have any words on them at all! Presentations after all are graded on how well you connect with the audience through eye contact, voice modulation, clarity, and knowledge of the material. This cannot be done if your slides are jam packed with words (your audience can read, thus there is then no need for you to stand up there and read it), you can’t make eye contact since you are too busy reading the slides, you don’t connect with your audience because they are too distracted by hard to read fonts and animations, and your ethos is slightly discredited because it seems that you don’t really know what you are talking about so you put everything on the slide.

    Overall, I think PowerPoint is a useful tool and addition to enhance a speech when appropriate; however it takes away from a speech when used inappropriately.
    – Catherine Jakubowski

  5. samuele40 on

    This is a great example of public speaking because this comedian uses power point to demonstrate how power point can be used poorly. Effectively, he is doing a great job of using a power point presentation even though he is criticizing certain power point techniques! awesome and hilarious.


  6. sritch15 on

    I really enjoyed watching this YouTube clip. I was actually talking about this just the other day with my roommate. We are in another class together, and we just finished a group project that required us to do a powerpoint for the presentation. I used to think powerpoints were great, and I must admit, I am definitely guilty of committing some of these “powerpoint crimes.” After taking this class, I have learned a lot about powerpoints, without even having to open powerpoint on my computer. I have learned to keep the words on each slide to a minimum. If you put everything you are going to say on the slide, then what’s the point of you standing up there and reading it to us? C’mon, we can all read! Now, don’t get me wrong, I think there are definitely appropriate times to use powerpoint, and there are ways to do it well. For example, in class we talked about putting a blank slide in between slides so the audience focuses on what you are saying as opposed to being distracted by the slide. So, yes, powerpoint can be useful, but first learn how to properly use it!

    • sritch15 on

      oops, sorry, I forgot to sign my name!

      -Sarah Ritchey

  7. heeryp on

    I’m glad that a comedian made fun of how people can ruin a good presentation with a terrible or distracting power point. I feel like people today use too many crutches with public speaking to lessen the pressure (in their minds) on them in front of an audience. I had a class last year called organizational psychology in which we were placed on teams and had to make various mock client presentations throughout the semester. It was painfully obvious who understood how to make a power point that enhanced their presentation and who had no idea what they were doing. My personal pet peeve on power points comes when people have slides that are text-heavy. When I observe a presentation or speech I want to relax my eyes and listen to what the presenter has to say. I don’t feel like straining my eyes to read entire paragraphs on a screen. I think that a lot of people dislike having 20 sets of eyes staring at them for the duration of a presentation so they shove a bunch of text up onto a power point and that way it diverts the attention from the speaker to the screen; thus, taking pressure off the presenter. The best way in my mind to relieve yourself of the pressures of an audience’s gaze is to know what you’re presenting inside-out. The more confident you are in your material, the less pressure there is on you because you – not the audience – is the expert on the topic.

    Pat Heery

  8. ehoward112 on

    Story of our lives as a college students. PowerPoint is an excellent tool but only in moderation and actually knowing how to use it effectively. The best way to lose your audience during a presentation is to read every word on the slide. I will admit i have done it. But, usually people can read faster in their heads faster than you can read the slide out loud, they might be done reading before you even get started, and that is only paying attention in the first place. Or it turns the viewer off because the PowerPoint is bogged down all words making the viewer even less likely to listen.
    I totally agree with Gianna on the color thing as well as the animations. While you might think they are cool, most people will probably not share your enthusiasm as you try to blind them while they try to read all the word on your PowerPoint.

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