PowerPoint Hell: Don't Let This Happen to Your Next Presentation

In the "so bad it's good" category, we honor eight PowerPoint slides that will make you say, "Holy $#@%, What were they thinking?"

Bill Gates in the Clouds

PowerPoint slides are there to help presenters solidify the point they are trying to make -- not to confuse the audience with tons of logos, computing hardware images and arrows pointing here, there and everywhere. Bill, let us guess: You're alluding to "cloud computing"? Experts universally say: Keep the images to a minimum (like, one image per slide) and keep the text as brief as possible.

Snooze Scale: ZZZZ (Bill, you should know better.)

Fun with Arrows: Part 1

This unfortunate slide reportedly comes from a presentation by Jan Baan, founder and chairman of vendor Cordys. Granted, an "SOA Grid" can be an esoteric topic, but instead of understanding the end game, we're left with trying to figure out how to get in the game. Marketing and presentation guru Seth Godin called this the "worst PowerPoint slide ever used by a CEO."

Snooze Scale: ZZZ (We've seen worse.)

Death by PowerPoint

Alexei Kapterev's Death by PowerPoint (and How to Fight It) presentation on offers fresh and funny insights on PPT presentations. He advises what to do and, more importantly, what not to do. That this slide (from Kapterev's deck) may be in a language that is foreign to you is no matter. Just don't do this. Ever. (We'd like to see someone PowerPoint Karaoke this slide.)

Snooze Scale: ZZZZZ

More NASA Space Shuttle Carnage

Not only was the Space Shuttle Columbia explosion a huge disaster, but so is this slide from an engineering presentation trying to explain the "external tank foam problem." Design guru Edward Tufte, no fan of PowerPoint himself, notes that the slide does "not display a sense of engineering intelligence or discipline" and is a "presentation mess."

Snooze Scale: ZZZZ

Fun with Arrows: Part 2

This slide comes from a presentation that Jesper Laugesen sat through (Laugesen thought it worthy of a nomination for the "world's worst" PPT slide). If the "community" is supposed to rally around this PowerPoint slide, then there might be a lot of confusion about just where to get started. PowerPoint experts say that bullet points and arrows shouldn't be used (or kept to just a few). These arrows are quite disorienting.

Snooze Scale: ZZZ

Beijing Sales Office: Home of the Panda?

Presentation guru Seth Godin would not like this slide. First off, he notes, bullets are for the NRA—not PPT slides—and images should provide emotional connections between presenter and audience. Here are his five PPT presentation tips: 1. No more than six words on a slide. 2. No cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images. 3. No dissolves, spins or other transitions. 4. Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never use the sound effects that are built in to the program. 5. Don't hand out print-outs of your slides.

Snooze Scale: ZZZZ

Practice, Practice, Practice

Not only should you rehearse your presentation, but you should ensure that all the technical details (software, projector and screen are working properly) are taken care of. That way you don't get this error message. Venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki offers his simple "10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint," which can help you prepare: "A PowerPoint presentation should have 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes, and contain no font smaller than 30 points."

Snooze Scale: ZZZ

From the Department of Redundancy Department

One clever person imagined what Barack Obama's famous "Yes We Can" speech would have looked like had Obama relied on an 11-slide PPT presentation. Here's how that final slide would have "helped" Obama's presentation. Goes to show that sometimes less PowerPoint is definitely more.

Snooze Scale: ZZZ