Why these PowerPoint templates are bad for you

Posted by Damon Nofar on June 08, 2017
Have you seen these kind of posts (image below) on LinkedIn recently? They have become very trendy lately: companies sharing free PowerPoint slides with cool visuals and graphics. All you need to do is to subscribe to their email list and you will get the slides for free.
Looks great right? Free awesome slides that you can use on your next presentation. What's not to love?

Let me tell you.

Do you think these slides are efficient in telling your message? Should you use them in your presentations? Probably not.

Before I tell you why, let's make it very clear that the designers behind these templates definitely deserve the credit for their great design work. They have spent tons of hours in developing these and their graphic design skills are better than most of us (me included).

And it is a very clever growth hack to get a ton of email subscribers.

With that said, these kind of presentation templates are actually only keeping the concept of "Death by PowerPoint" alive.
Death by PowerPoint is a phenomenon caused by the poor use of presentation software. Key contributors to death by PowerPoint include confusing graphics, slides with too much text and presenters whose idea of a good presentation is to read 40 slides out loud.

Source: Techtarget

Take a look at this slide as an example. At first glance, most of us might think "..that looks really cool, look at those 3D-like arrows giving depth to the slide.. stunning. I want that!"

But this is an absolutely horrible slide in terms of actually supporting your speech. There is way too much text on there, the text is so small that only an audience with binoculars can read it, and even if they could read it that would mean that they would stop listening to you and thus your whole purpose of being there as a speaker is lost.
The same goes with almost all the slides in these free decks. Here is another example above. Look at the amount of text under the headline, and the bullet points on the right side. This is a typical slideument (slide used as a document).

Get my point?

These templates makes us lose the actual purpose of any presentation we do, which is to convey a message to an audience.

The slides behind you are only there to support you, NOT to take attention away from you.

If you add a lot of content, unnecessary graphics, and flashy stuff, what do you think the audience will do? They will be looking at your slides, reading your text, and stop listening to you.

Purpose failed.

When you click forward a slide, the audience should get the gist of your slide in 3-seconds or less. Then you open your mouth and the attention goes back to you. That is how it should work!

You are there to deliver a message. Whether it is a sales or investor pitch, or any kind of presentation. Make sure that your slides support you rather than distract and take attention away from you.

Keep it simple and clean and you will be much more effective in your communication. No need to complicate things.

Which of the slides below do you think would be better in supporting your speech and getting the message across to your audience?
Both slides are highlighting five key points. One has a lot of elements and text, and the other has a simple half-screen image with the five key points outlined. Sure, the left one looks cooler and nicer, but you decide which one would do the speaker a favor.

Does this mean that you should not download these free templates? Of course not.

Download them and copy elements that can help visualize and make your slides better. Take all the inspiration you can from them. But please, do not feel the urge of typing in your own content in the template as it is.

If you do that, your audience will most certainly experience death by PowerPoint.

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