Pitfalls of PowerPoint # 8 and #9

In BNI or other Networking Groups, Business Presentations, PowerPoint, Public Speaking, sales, speaking on April 1, 2012 at 7:55 PM

(And How to “Purge” Them From Your Presentations)

By Dr. Jon Hooper, Guest Author for iSpeakEASY

Pitfall #8: Unimaginative Show Lacking Music or Sound

Imagine a movie without any music or sound effects. Would Top Gun grab your attention if Tom Cruise took off from the aircraft carrier without the roar of the jet and the dynamic “Danger Zone” music? Most of us would consider such a movie as a step backwards in time.

Even though we love the amazing power of music and sound effects, we often present our PowerPoint shows with nothing more than our human voice accompanying the projected images.

To purge the pitfall:  Incorporate appropriate music or sound effects into your shows. Inserting sound is as easy as inserting a photograph or illustration. You simply click “Insert” – “Sound” (or “Music and Sound”) – “Sound From File” – then navigate to the appropriate folder containing the file and select the file. Use the PowerPoint manual or Microsoft’s on-line help to “tweak” the music/sound to meet your specific needs.

If your organization cannot afford to buy the rights to music.” and other sites provide copyright free music for you to use. Make sure you follow the “Terms of Use” listed for your music source.

Pitfall #9:  You Present Your Show And The Sound Does Not Work:

Has the following scenario ever happened to you? You proudly get ready to demonstrate your new “sound” prowess yet when you get to the part of the show with sound, nothing happens! Panic ensues! The most common cause of this problem is that your sound files were stored in a different folder than your PowerPoint show when you inserted them into your show, yet you only brought the PowerPoint show folder with you to your presentation site.

To purge the pitfall:  Before inserting a sound file into your show, copy the file to the same folder where you have been saving your PowerPoint show. Then insert the file into your show by navigating to this same folder and clicking the sound file. When you want to transfer your show to another computer in the future, simply copy the entire contents of your PowerPoint folder to a CD or thumb (USB) drive then transfer the folder to the second computer. If you do not follow this procedure, you may forget to copy your sound files because they will exist in a different folder.

Final Thoughts

Appropriate music and sound effects capture and hold the attention of your audience. Be careful not to over use such special effects, however. They should help you reach your show’s objectives, not just add glitz.

Dr. Jon Hooper has over 30 years of experience helping natural and cultural resource professionals their communication efforts. He is a professor of environmental interpretation at California State University, Chico and is the owner of Verbal Victories Communication Consulting. Contact Jon at

 © 2012 iSpeakEASY. All rights reserved – We help people profit from their words. We offer workshops on creating effective PowerPoint Presentations. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.

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  1. I’m in the process of eliminating all PowerPoint slides except for video clips and sound. The presentations are shorter, the audience is more in tune, and I come off much better. Great article. Thanks.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I am an avid supporter of shorter presentations. There was a study done in 2006 on what audiences want from a speaker. Of the 2501 participants, not one stated that a short presentation was an issue.

      I still believe in PowerPoint though – like all tools – when it is properly used it is fabulous. The problem is most people don’t know how to properly use it.

  2. […] Pitfalls of PowerPoint # 8 and #9 ( […]

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