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7 Deadly Presentation Sins: Sloth, or Failing to Prepare

We’ve discussed much about the usual gaffes that take your core idea towards the wrong direction.

Today, we’re kicking off a seven-part segment that’s inspired by Andrew Dlugan’s article, The 7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking.

We all know that the seven deadly sins are delinquencies fatal to spiritual progress. As set in literature, these are enumerated as sloth, envy, lust, gluttony, greed, wrath and pride. These sins are not only undesirable traits in life but also infelicitous acts that shouldn’t be likewise administered in the business setting.

Ready to get started? We now present to you the first part our blog series about 7 Seven Deadly Presentation Sins.

Let’s talk about the first presentation deadly sin—sloth, the failure to prepare—and why it’s depraved when delivering persuasive speeches and professional presentations.

What is Sloth?

In Christian scripture, sloth is described as the avoidance of physical and spiritual work, or being lazy and idle about God’s teachings.

The late Jesuit Fr. John Hardon defined it as “sluggishness of soul or boredom because of the exertion necessary for the performance of a good work.”

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How Does It Relate to Presentations?

If sloth is akin to apathy and inactivity, the closest way to relate it to public speaking is the lack of preparation.

Benjamin Franklin once said that “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Unless you consider yourself a PowerPoint expert with the ability to discuss ideas without mastery of the structure and rehearsal, you’re a sure pass.

But you can’t guarantee that the odds will always be in your favor, let alone predict possible accidents that could break your concentration. Your PowerPoint file may get corrupted, batteries may drain, and your audience may respond with disagreements or negative reactions. That’s why to ensure that you and your discussion are on the right track, vigilant planning and preparation are important.

You are not presenting out in front to embarrass yourself. Similarly, your audience aren’t waiting in their seats only to be disappointed by your performance.

The best thing you can do is to fill the room with sensible words to satisfy their hunger for new and helpful ideas.

How Do You Cure the Deadly Sin of Sloth?

Cure sloth with its exact opposite: effort. The sin can be defeated with combined planning and practice.

Invest your time in writing scripts or guideposts, but know when to depend on them. Use them only as your guide to avoid looking like you’re reading a speech. List down your notes, ideally in four to five sentences, so you can organize your thoughts and remember your cues.

Find a specific speaking style that suits you and practice delivering it. Try recording and listening to your speech, as well as watching out for any lines that stand out to you. You can also record a video so you can evaluate your body language too. These help you identify which parts to improve on in your presentation.

Study presentation tips from the history’s great public speakers. Learn about their rehearsing habits and apply it on your own speech. Let their success stories inspire you to strengthen your skills both in personal and professional life.

Read online references, books and journals that feature tips on speech writing, delivery techniques, and PowerPoint presentations. Doing this gives you a crash course on the things that should be done and avoid while doing a public speaking stint.


The sin of sloth or failing to prepare means sacrificing your pitch’s flow.

It helps to create an outline of your main points. Write down your script to present your ideas completely and seamlessly.

Explore different speaking styles and choose what you can best deliver. Self-evaluate your speech by recording your speech. Watch and listen your recorded video so you can examine both your verbal and nonverbal communication skills and find out what needs improvement.

Lastly, take advantage of an array of references available in the web, at your home, and offices. Reading is never a bad resort when you want to nurture more your public speaking skills.

Slay this sluggishness as early as in the pre-presentation stage by following these tips.

Remember, nothing makes a presenter more confident and credible than being well-practiced and prepared.

Need a great deck to match your speech? Check out our portfolio for inspiration, or contact our slide design experts for a consultation with a free quote.


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Dlugan, Andrew. “The 7 Deadly Sins of Public Speaking.” Six Minutes. September 21, 2009.
“Sins, Virtues, and Tales.” Seven Deadly Sins.

Hardon, John. Pocket Catholic Dictionary. Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1985.

“7 Must Read Life Lessons from Benjamin Franklin.” Business Insider. May 31, 2011. Accessed March 2, 2016.


Featured Image: “Seven Deadly Sins” by Rox Steady on

Fix Design Annoyances for Great PowerPoint Presentations

Alienating your audience is a terrible way of getting through a presentation. As a presenter, you want to effectively communicate your message without annoying anyone.

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In one of his “Annoying PowerPoint” surveys, David Paradi presented seven of the most annoying presentation mistakes involving content, delivery, and design.

Let’s discuss four of these bad habits and why they hinder you from making great PowerPoint presentations.

Small Text

Many people dislike small, hard-to-read text.

Your content may be great, but small text might hinder you from conveying your message. Imagine if somebody wrote you a note with extremely tiny text—would you even go through the effort of finding a tool to read it. You’d most likely just throw the note away.

This goes the same with PowerPoint slides. Make your slides noticeable to your audience.

Presentations are not white papers. Text shouldn’t be shrunk down to fit more content into each slide. Consider the eyesight of your audience when choosing a font size, preferably one that they can view from a comfortable distance.

Full-Length Sentences

If you were asked to read a slide full of run-on sentences, would you actually bother looking at it? The survey showed that 48.4% of respondents thought this was one of the biggest annoyances.

Compared to single words or phrases, people need more time to read complete sentences. Make it easier for them by using bullet points and keywords in your slides.

Overly Complex Diagrams

Every presenter has resorted to diagrams and charts to explain a process or concept at least once in their lives.

However, overly complex visual guides may actually make it more difficult for audiences to comprehend your point. According to the survey, 30.8% of participants hate hard-to-understand graphics.

Using diagrams isn’t a sin, but break them into sections so your thoughts aren’t cluttered. Visuals can bring life to your message, but with improper use, it can confuse audiences. Stick to simple figures when communicating complex ideas.

Poor Color Choice

Inconsistently using color throughout your deck can cause eye fatigue—25.8% of respondents cited poor color choice as one of the common pitfalls in slide design.

Choosing the right colors for your PowerPoint design is a must. Be extra careful when experimenting with color combinations.

People have different perspectives towards different palettes. When in doubt, use a dark color on a light background, or vice versa. Don’t use colors that are too similar to each other, as these are hard to distinguish, especially when projected.

Put a stop to bad presentation habits and optimize your deck. All it takes is a little extra care when designing your slides. Make sure your text is big enough to read from a distance. Use shorter phrases or single words instead of full sentences so that it’s easier for people to remember your message. Don’t overcomplicate things with complex diagrams.

Catch your audience’s interest and stay on top of the presentation game by improving the design elements of your PowerPoint slide.

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Latest Annoying PowerPoint Survey Results.” Think Outside the Slide. Accessed April 22, 2015.
The Art of Graphs and Charts.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2014. Accessed April 22, 2015.

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Featured Image: “You Suck at PowerPoint!” by Jesse Desjardins on SlideShare