How To Avoid Distracting Your Audience During a PowerPoint Presentation

The success of a PowerPoint presentation whether it is used in academic lectures, product presentation, business and corporate meetings depends a lot on the reception and how it is understood and appreciated by the audience. One common problem is that the audience gets distracted during your presentation.

To avoid distracting your audience during a PowerPoint presentation, there are several things you have to do and remember.

Start with the presenter - you! The audience gets distracted by the speaker/ presenter's appearance, gestures, mannerisms and unnecessary movements most of the time. To ensure that this does not happen, you have to make sure that you are well-groomed and properly dressed. Do not wear clothes that generate too much attention. Avoid loud printed colors and designs that tend to say, "Look at me!" This also goes to say that skimpy and provocative clothes are a no no. Check yourself at the mirror before starting the PowerPoint presentation. Be aware of your gestures, mannerisms and unnecessary movements. This shows unpreparedness and lack of confidence and this will distract the focus of the audience. To avoid this, practice your presentation well and keep in mind the audience's attention towards the PowerPoint presentation. It is best that you stay in front, specifically in a place that does not obstruct the view of the audience. Use pointers properly instead of walking to and fro to emphasize an item in the PowerPoint presentation.

Next, check your PowerPoint presentation before presenting it. There are several things in the PowerPoint presentation that usually distract audiences. These are: wrong color combinations used in the fonts and slide design layout, excessive and sometimes unrelated animation, inappropriate and distractive sounds, unreadable fonts, lengthy text, and poor slide sequencing.

Colors, animation and sounds could enliven one's PowerPoint presentation. However, if it is not done properly and appropriately, this could distract the audience and destroy the presentation itself. With the target audience in mind, chose the right color combinations and appropriate color in designing your PowerPoint slides. Do not use a layout for K-3 students if you are presenting to a CEO and vice versa.

Animations and sound effects are fun to watch and hear. Use them carefully in a way that they are used only as enhancers. When used excessively and inappropriately, they veer the attention of the audience from the PowerPoint presentation.

In the text layout of the PowerPoint presentation, choose a font (font type, color, size and font formatting) that is readable even from the last row of the audience. To have consistency, choose up to a maximum of two font types only. Apply good color combination in the font colors.

Also, arrange your slides properly so that you will not distract the audience by looking for a certain slide or skipping pages and going back and forth in the sequencing. The key point to remember here is the simpler PowerPoint presentation, the better.

Lastly, do not read your PowerPoint presentation word for word. Verbatim reading shows lack of preparation or laziness of the presenter. Why do we need a presenter if it can just be read in the PowerPoint presentation?

Keep these things in mind to avoid distracting the audience from an otherwise good PowerPoint presentation.


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