Monday, October 08, 2007

PowerPoint Pity

Here I go on PowerPoint again.

I attended a presentation recently. The lights were dimmed and the speaker began his presentation -- you guessed it with PowerPoint. This first slide had FIVE bullet points and each one had a paragraph attached to it. To give the speaker credit, he did know his material and could speak eloquently about it. But his slides really didn't always fit, and they were boring graphs and facts. Ugh!

That very same evening I was a guest of Davis College for an annual event called Dining for Success. The business fraternity organizes this event every year for the students. They get the experience of being at a mock business meal. Also, they usually have a speaker talk about manners and business etiquette at these meals. This year the speaker was my friend, Linda Fayerweather of Changing Lanes, LLC. (that's her to the left. She really didn't have her eyes closed during the whole presentation!) She makes manners fun. She also brings a piece of paper that resembles a place mat with an image of a place setting. She then uses this to teach from. She also puts a few bullet points right on this handout. Simple and effective. No PowerPoint!

Over the last week in our newspaper, there was an article about a local congressman who had agreed to speak before a junior high class. He downloaded a government produced presentation from the web via a memory stick that he then transferred to his laptop. You can imagine his horror when he flashed his first PowerPoint image up on the screen only to see if contained a picture of naked women. Seems his teenage son had been surfing the net and had used the same memory stick. Just think of how much less hot water the congressman would have been in if he had only just talked with the students instead of having the electronic crutch that so many use.

PowerPoint is an excuse that makes for weak presentations, non-focused presentations, boring presentations and sometimes as in the case of the congressman, surprising presentations.

Which side of the PP aisle do you find yourself?

4 comments:

Tracee said...

I have actually found that more and more people are pleased when I tell them that I do NOT use power point in my presentations. Power point has a place in some classroom/academic settings, but that's about it. I am of the opinion if you want to be memorable and have people truly "get" your presentation points - leave the projector and screen in the classroom!

Angie Weid said...

Power point is great to add VISUAL images to a presentation. Visual = pictures--NO WORDS.
If you are going to give me copies of your PP presentation, then please forward them to me before so I can stay home and take a nap in my own bed.

Tami - Custom Training Solutions said...

Well, since I am the PowerPoint Queen I thought I would chime in.

First, presenters should remember that PowerPoint is a tool not the entire presentation. Also, it is not mandatory that you use PowerPoint. The whole purpose of it is to emphasize important points in the presentation and to help keep it moving along.

Second, a benefit of PowerPoint is to help the speaker reach the visual learners in the group. Some people retain information they hear, others need to see it and finally others learn by doing. As a person prepares to give a presentation, they need to remember that there are all sorts of people in their audience and they have to look for a variety of ways to engage them.

If you want to use PowerPoint effectively, learn more about the program and practice, practice, practice. One of the first tips I give in my PowerPoint classes is the 6 x 6 rule. There should normally be no more than 6 bullet points per slide, 6 words per bullet point.

Lastly, I will say that no PowerPoint is better than a bad PowerPoint in most situations. PowerPoint is a great tool, but ultimately the presenter is the one to make or break the speech!

Let me step down off my pedestal now and get back to my homework for Certified Networker!

Sandy of Sandy's Stuff for Women said...

Any presentations I do anymore are of the 'fashion show' type with the clothing, accessories and models being the audiovisuals.

But in my previous life, I gave a lot of presentations. Those were the pre-Power Point days, but I almost always used slides.

But the slides rarely had many words. I used the slides as my notes. Maybe just one word would be my clue to the next topic. Or one photo.

I just came across a couple of old slide carousels. Anyone into antiques?