Here are some common mistakes I see in briefings for presentation design projects. They range from typographical details to big picture issues:

  • The presentation never explains what it is you actually do
  • The slides say something different than the verbal explanation
  • Too many benefits, as a result: no positioning
  • Doubt between positioning options shines through in the slides
  • Presenter gets lost in side stories
  • Amateurish images ("funny" ones)
  • Images with copy right issues
  • Font, colour, alignment, image resolution, aspect ratio chaos
  • Inconsistent graphical style
  • Inconsistent analogies
  • Cliche analogies
  • Good data, but the wrong data charts
  • Jargon and buzzwords
  • Quotes from airport best seller authors
  • Bullet point place holders rather than a story
  • Too many words that explain too little
  • Too few words that say something generic
  • Five slides combined in one
  • The presentation spends too much time on the obvious
  • The presentation avoids the elephant in the room
  • Slides from a strategic Board meeting that talk about some strategic choice and expose weaknesses are ported straight into the pitch deck
  • Comments and notes with sensitive information are left in presentations for everyone to read
  • Sensitive data that is taken out of the chart can still be accessed when opening the graph
  • 99% solution, 1% problem
  • About us, us, us, us
  • Too long a summary, too short a body, too long a wrap up
  • Errors marked by the spell checker are still ignored
  • Custom fonts that get rendered as Arial
  • Slide title appears 3x: in the title, in a bubble, in a line across the bottom
  • Second line of a bullet point paragraph is misaligned
  • First line of a regular non-bullet point paragraph pops out as if it were a bullet point
  • Inconsistent slide templates throughout the presentation (resulting from a Frankenstein, slam the deck together, effort)
  • Some charts are still in Microsoft Graph / Microsoft Office 2003 format
  • Data charts are copied straight from Excel, without bothering to round up/down

Art: Giovanni Boldini (1842–1931), The Laundry, 1874