There is a range of PowerPoint tips out there, but how many of them are actually helpful? How many of these tips help you make a better presentation?

PowerPoint is a popular presentation program and it’s been around since 1987. Here’s our list debunking common PowerPoint “tips.”

1. Use Bullet-Points

PowerPoint has the awful reputation as a champion for bullet-points. This is completely wrong.

Don’t fill a slide with bullets because people don’t respond to it. It’s great to make everything consistent but people get bored looking at the same design, especially if they’re sitting through hundreds of slides.

Instead of filling your slide with bullet-points, put your speech in the presentation notes and practice!

powerpoint, Why Your PowerPoint “Tips” are Wrong

2. The 10/20/30 Rule

This rule suggests that a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

This particular rule was started by venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki and it’s a great rule…if you’re a venture capitalist trying to fit your 10 most important points for your audience. Otherwise, the 10/20/30 rule is prescriptive and assumes that fewer slides mean you have condensed your information. This is often not the case – it’s likely that you’ll pack more information in fewer slides, making it look cluttered.

While time limits are a given, 20 minutes is arbitrary depending on the purpose of the presentation. Extending a 10-minute presentation into a 20 minute one isn’t helpful to your audience or to your message. Understand the limitations of your time constraints and then find an alternative way to express your key message. But a 20-minute rule isn’t going to help.

The 30 point rule seems like a good advice – all of your text needs to be legible. But in terms of design principles, having font size variation and typeface guides the natural way we read the text. A standard font size might make it easier for you to design, but it doesn’t make it visually interesting for your audience.

powerpoint, Why Your PowerPoint “Tips” are Wrong

3. Add a YouTube Video

This is probably the strangest and least helpful tip for PowerPoint. There seems to be no legitimate reason to advocate for a YouTube video, besides the fact that it’s a video and visual engagement might be heightened during a presentation. Unless the video serves a real purpose, you’re better off explaining it during your presentation. Instead of adding a YouTube video, dedicate a slide with the important information.

powerpoint, Why Your PowerPoint “Tips” are Wrong

4. Add Audio

Audio can be useful in a presentation, as long as it’s necessary. But if it adds no additional value, there’s no reason for you to add audio every slide transition or if you click an icon.

powerpoint, Why Your PowerPoint “Tips” are Wrong

5. Add Animation

There is such a thing as bad animation. And while PowerPoint has a range of animation capabilities, adding transitions or animations for the sake of it looks childish and ill-prepared. It’s about the kind of animation you choose. If you’re giving a business presentation, it’s best to keep animations simple and professional.

powerpoint, Why Your PowerPoint “Tips” are Wrong

6. Insert Stock Images

Visuals are fantastic. There help reinforce your message or provide a visual aid for your audience. But throwing stock images just because you might actually be setting your presentation back. Not every “professionally” photographed image is good and you need to make sure that the images you choose are visually compelling.

powerpoint, Why Your PowerPoint “Tips” are Wrong

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