When creating a PowerPoint presentation, content creation and design are the most important elements. It’s easy to focus so closely on those key elements that the details go by the wayside. However, those formatting details are what separate you from your competitors. The way your presentation looks will strongly influence customers’ impression of your company. If your presentation is sloppy and full of errors, prospects will assume your work will be sloppy and error-ridden as well.
Data entry errors can be costly for a professional PowerPoint presentation
In addition to errors that can damage your credibility and convey an unprofessional image, data entry errors and a lack of detail-oriented proofreading can create real problems. If you have data in your presentation that conveys important information, perhaps to stock holders or potential investors, and that data has been entered incorrectly, you could be, at best, creating confusion and, at worse, presenting misleading or fraudulent information. Data, especially financial data, must be accurate–so check and recheck your numbers.
Avoid these five common pitfalls:
Be consistent in your use of capital letters. In a title or headline, you can choose to capitalize each word, or just the first word of the sentence. In addition, you can choose to capitalize all letters in a word, or you can just capitalize the first letter of the word. In each case, either is fine as long as you are consistent and repeat the formatting throughout your presentation.
2. Dates and numbers
Display dates and numbers in the same format throughout your presentation. Not just within a particular slide, but maintain the standard from slide to slide. If you display a date as day/month/year in one place, do not use day-month in another slide. For numbers, standardize the number of zeros or decimal points to be displayed across chart and graphs. Choose the format that best illustrates the information in a concise and clean manner for readability.
3. Fonts and type size
Choose one main font for your entire presentation. You can have complementary fonts for specific types of data or sub-headlines etc. Be consistent as well with font size. Choose a size for headlines, sub headlines, body text etc. and maintain that style guide for each slide.
A good way to make a presentation look a little “off” is to have margins or spacing that changes from slide to slide. Be careful to have the same margins on each slide, to have the top line start at the same point and have bullets indent by the same number of characters. Pick a standard for justification, left, right or center, as well as for top and bottom justification.
5. Data entry
You cannot eliminate human error so you need to check and proof the data entry for your presentation. Bad numbers can mislead your prospects or investor, confuse your sales staff, and just looks unprofessional and sloppy. Data entry errors happen, so always have a second set of eyes proofread your content and double check all your figures to ensure an accurate and error-free presentation.
Of course, many other elements of your presentation need to be reviewed for accuracy, consistency and data entry errors as well, but the bottom line is that the devil is in the details when it comes to a professional looking presentation. Keep an eye out for inconsistency and errors and your presentation will look clean, credible and professional.
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