Slide mistakes

You know that slide in a presentation that makes you wonder: what am I supposed to be getting from this page? Am I missing something? Why are my eyes hurting?

Here’s my take at a top 10 list of slide writing mistakes:

10. Poor labeling — lack of titles, units, sourcing

9. Long lists — most people can’t absorb lists that are longer than 5 items

8. Stock clip art — “screen beans" are particularly played out

7. Too many arguments — one argument per slide, don’t be afraid to break into multiple slides if necessary

6. Repetition of the argument — people sometimes feel they need to hammer a point home with various different attempts to say the same thing. Have faith in our audience

5. Errors — the smallest errors can undermine an otherwise strong argument

4. Distracting aesthetics — too much color, too many picture or graphics, confusing or cluttered layout

3. Too many words or excessive detail — your audience is looking for the high points

2. No point — a purely descriptive chart or table. The first responsibility of a slide author is to make an argument

1. No evidence — the author’s second responsibility is to support that argument with some objective data

Any others?