The PowerPoint Fiasco
Do it as long as I have and you’ll see a lot of PowerPoint. Bad PowerPoint. Slide after slide crammed with words, bullets, charts, and clip art. That’s right. Clip art. And a presenter reading every word you see on the screen in glorious 1024 x 768 high fuzz resolution. Sometimes they get creative and the words bounce in, or fade in, or drop in, or look like they’re written with lasers. All that does is draw attention to what amounts to a waste of time. My time. Your time.
Call me an evangelist. Call me an agent of change. Call me a disrupter. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. I set about showing the world how to use PowerPoint for good, not evil. It’s all about restraint. Don’t use words. Don’t use PowerPoint’s features. Just images. Not just any image, but an image that perfectly accompanies the words that are coming out of the presenter’s mouth. That’s it. No words. Just images.
The steps are simple. Maybe a little bit too simple. And that’s where the trouble started.
- Does what you have to say need to be said? If not, maybe send an email or put your feet up on your desk and take a nap. If so, OK. Go to the next step.
- Understand that few people really care, so just invite those who have something at stake to your little presentation.
- If you make a slide show, use only images. You can have a title for each slide, but use few words. Don’t make people read your slides. If they’re reading, they’re not listening.
- Make it snappy. Just make your point, answer some questions, and let them out as quickly as you can. Don’t be boring or self-indulgent. Or boring.
This radical concept got me banned from the League of PowerPoint Presenters. They revoked my license. For months, Traditionalist PowerPointilists sent my family harassing, wordy slideshows. Eventually they forced me to recant my doctrine in a very public and humiliating slideshow with slide after slide of bullet-point lists and stock clip art. They made me use charts with incomprehensible metrics based on irrelevant data. I lost the audience after 3 slides… I was ruined.
The lesson here? The PowerPoint fundamentalist faction governs the slideshow community. Presentations are the currency of power and the world is a cruel, cruel place.