17 August 2009


I did it again. I walked out of another presentation that pissed Me off because the person decided that reading the slides to Me was good enough.

It wasn't. Never has been, never will be. 

Now I've decided that I won't attend any other presentation that uses PowerPoint unless A) I know and like the presenter very well and B) s/he doesn't read the damn slides.

PowerPoint is to presentations what crutches are to hundred meter races: useless attachments that destroy the purpose of the activity. Instead of focusing on the quality of the information and concepts to be presented, people use the damn program to spend hours tinkering and minutes preparing, instead of the other way around. The end result is powerless, pointless, mindless ennui.

That's "boredom" to you teachers out there...

(Yeah, I'm snarky today.)

I started dropping the stupid program a few years ago when I did a 30-minute presentation to the local advertising association that had 2 slides. The first had the title and this message: This presentation has a total of 2 slides. This is the first one.

The second slide had the following phrase: [You only think you] Listen to your customer.

I'm pretty sure most of you can figure out what My presentation was about and can then explain it to the teachers. 

There's plenty of backlash against these interminably boring slide shows and the BBC weighs in on the topic as well, pointing out the weakness in presentation, how storytelling trumps bullet points every time and how We've mangled communications by relying on word counts and square-by-square truncation.

Now I know some people are really good at using PowerPoint. By My count, it's one in 123. I have 123 slide files in My computer and of those, only one speaker was worth the time, Scott Ginsberg (he's known as The Name Tag Guy; look him up.) That's less than 0.9% of y'all, so don't interrupt My day and tell Me you're the Wizard of Whiz-Bang Wallshots or the Sultan of Sassy-Savvy Slides because I can tell you right now, you ain't. If you're that dependent on PowerPoint, you're a crutch-humper in Usain Bolt's rear-view mirror, the one that says:

"Objects in the mirror are:
 * closer than
 * they appear."

You want to get better at presentations? Drop PowerPoint. Tell a story, one with a beginning, a middle and an end. Here are six tips you can use now to improve your presentation skills. Notice you have to practice. Nothing worth doing well comes easily and given the importance of presentations, it's worth your time--and that of your listerners--to practice diligently, with focus and enthusiasm.

And yes, I mean you teachers, too. You're boring enough as it is.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

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