Death by PowerPoint: Beware the 115 Slide Presentation!

Boring Presentation

Have you ever been in presentation that goes on and on?

Perhaps, it had more slides than Wikipedia has topics.

Or fancy graphs and animations that served to hypnotize the audience in a non-question asking lull.

The dreaded Death by PowerPoint.

The 115 Slide PowerPoint Presentation

I recently saw a presentation by a senior executive that was the definition of Death by PowerPoint.

The material was important. His message was good.

However, the presentation was 115 slides.

Now, the scary part.

He only had three points to his entire speech.

Instead, of 115 slides of fluff, he could have spoken to the audience about his three points.

Instead, he tried to razzle-dazzle them with pretty pictures, slick graphics, and moving animations for almost an hour and a half.

Or, so he thought.

In fact, he put them to sleep. And by the end, no one remembered any of his main points.

He would have had a better chance at the audience remembering his three thoughts if he had given a 15 minute talk with just a handful of slides.

More Slides Means Less Message

When you have too many slides you bore your audience.

You waste their time and insult their intelligence.

The more slides… the less message.

The more slides… the less the presenter knows what he/she is talking about.

The more slides… the less connection with the audience.

The more slides… the more wasted time.

“It’s easy to makes lots of slides. It’s hard to narrow down your topic to a laser-focused message.” (Tweet this Quote)

The 10 Slide Limit

Put your presentation on a diet.

Rather than counting calories… count slides.

10 slides… max.

That’s all you get. (I still think it too many for most topics.)

Yes, that includes any title page. And any silly “Questions?” slide at the end.

If you can’t abide… then you don’t know your message.

You need to distill it. Reduce it. Bring it into focus.

If you still cannot fit your topics into 10 slides,  then you are probably trying to convey too much in one presentation.

Lose the Slides

Your audience wants to hear from you. They want to hear the facts, your ideas, and your message.

They don’t want to be bullied by 115 pages of PowerPoint.

So, lose the slides and bring your message.

Your audience will thank you.

Question: What is the worst presentation you have seen? What are your best presentation tips? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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7 thoughts on “Death by PowerPoint: Beware the 115 Slide Presentation!

  1. Had this experience…
    10 slides max… have to speak with our commercial guys… but , 1st, need to buy an AK47… or attempt self-defense intensive training… 😉

  2. My first year in college I got to go through a lot of awful slides. High school too, but that was expected. Going into college I was expecting some decent, semi-focused slides but what I found were people pasting paragraphs upon paragraphs into each slide. It was miserable to watch.

    In fact, all it did was make me look good.

    • Agreed!
      I once presented at an annual business review where others used 50+ slides each.
      My presentation was 1 slide. I received many compliments afterwards… 🙂

  3. I think it depends on the content. I review many tech presentations. They have samples that can be used later by the viewer in their own implementations. I much prefer reading a presentation then listening someone present it. I’ll put it this way, if I can’t get the info I need from the slides themselves, I consider the presentation of material a fail.

  4. Not sure I agree, it all depends on what’s on the slides. Too much information, too many details, too many graphics and stuff, that is indeed boring. But a presentation with a 115 sharp, well designed slides that support your key message, I could live with that.

  5. It’s amazing how much time we spend listening to very senior level executives kill us with a presentation with no clear message or call to action. It’s all just buried somewhere in those 115 slides of data that you cannot wrap your head around. Investing the time on the front end of the presentation creation process is critical. Think about the what you need from your audience (what’s the purpose of your presentation to begin with?) and make sure each slide is clearly focused on your topic and emotionally connects with your audience. If you are going to put a chart or data in a slide, for goodness sake make your point clear and put a neon light around it in the slide title. 15-20 bullets per slide are my personal favorite ;). The purpose of a presentation is not when the facilitator reads what the audience can see and read for themselves. Breaking bullets into smaller messages with powerful visuals will keep your audience from fast forwarding their attention to bullet #8 when you are trying to keep their attention focused on bullet #2. For some reason, presentations seem to have evolved into a review of very heavy, busy slides that are really documents better suited for follow up with your audience after your presentation. A presentation should truly be about telling your story and keeping your audience on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what you say next.