Presenting information to a class of students requires significant planning and consideration of standard guidelines for presenting. In any course that contains a substantial lecture component the amount of content we seek to present in-class can seem daunting and make an instructor more likely to make poor choices with regard to the organization or presentation of that material. Slide software like PowerPoint have become the standard tools for presenting, but there are many common mistakes in the use of these tools that can make any presenter risk being ineffective. The suggestions below will help you think about, plan, and deliver more effective presentations regardless of your content area or audience.

Common Mistakes

The number one complaint audiences have about presentations is presenters “reading the slides.” It seems clear that most people find this unacceptable, yet it persists as a common practice. Any literate audience will read the text on slides faster than they can be spoken aloud, so when using slides the text of the slides should be used to support the speaker’s remarks, the slides should never serve as notes for the speaker - nor should they simply be a summary of the speaker’s remarks.

Other common mistakes include text heavy slides, confusing narratives, distracting animations/transitions, and the use of irrelevant or confusing images.