4 major presentation mistakes

August 4, 2014       The NonProfit Times      

As any savvy eater knows, a beautiful presentation on a plate is very nice, but it doesn’t amount to much if the food is lousy. So it is with presentations in the business/nonprofit world: People often have to make them, and they want to make them as eye-appealing as possible.

In his book “The Presentation Lab” Simon Morton offers advice about making presentations that are as good as the surface appearance. Morton argued that presentations can be ruined by strict adherence to a group of myths that developed over time, especially centering on presentations involving use of sophisticated visual devices, in other words almost all presentations.

The myths that Morton advises presenters to be aware of and to avoid are:

  • PowerPoint is intrinsically evil. PowerPoint’s failing is simply that it is too easy to use, but blaming PowerPoint’s ease of use for poor presentations within the boardroom is like blaming Microsoft Word for bad speeches or Outlook for poor email content.
  • The slides are the presentation. The most telling sign that the tail is wagging the dog comes when someone refers to the deck of slides as “the presentation.”
  • Presentation Zen/typography. Beware of beautifully shot visuals that add nothing to the story being told.
  • The 10/20/30 Rule. This rule – no more than 10 slides, speak no more than 20 minutes, font size 30 – came from a venture capital background but are outdated.