25 January 2010

Self-Destruction by PowerPoint

Much has been written about using PowerPoint effectively for presentations. Yet we are relentlessly subjected to Death by PowerPoint by people who throw advice to the wind and insist upon humiliating themselves publicly. If you have the inexplicable urge to follow them like lemmings into the sea, just follow these instructions for Self-Destruction by PowerPoint:

· Cram as many full sentences as possible on each slide, so the presentation can stand on its own. You’re just there to read the slides to the unfortunate illiterate audience. This is an important role, since with all the text on the slide the font is too small for anyone to see anyway.
· Provide printed slides as a handout at the start, so people can get ahead and not have to pay any attention to you standing there at the front of the room.
· Jump right into the material, without stating the purpose of the presentation or giving people any idea how long it will go on.
· The more slides the better! It gives your audience a real rush when they see you are yammering on about slide 3 of 97.
· Be really creative with the use of color and fonts in your slide design. Comic Sans is such a cheerful and professional type face that just screams for primary colors.
· Don’t take up real estate on the slide with interesting and illustrative graphics…you can explain your points better with more words.
· Apply the whole gamut of animated slide transitions in a random manner. It will really keep people’s attention.
· Using other people’s copyrighted material in your presentation shows you have done your research.
· Take pains not to summarize or allow questions at the end, since the audience’s time is valuable and so is yours. The material was perfectly clear.
· Finally, let your PowerPoint creation play the starring role. Speak in a low monotone, speed through the slides (they have the handout for later), avoid eye contact, stand still and don’t use any distracting gestures, and for goodness sake, don’t smile. Presentations are serious business.

Now, get out there and self-destruct, if you must.

© Laurel Anne Bailey 2010

If you found this interesting, you may also enjoy "When Presenting, Know Your Audience:  http://habaconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/09/when-presenting-know-your-audience.html


  1. I love this...I've sat through this person's presentation many times -- straining to see the tiny font and squinting when 10 colors hit my eye as text flies into and out of the slide. Thanks for describing this event so perfectly!

  2. Jenny Runkel13 May, 2010 11:53

    Great post, although I did have a little trouble reading it with the small font and bullet issues. Maybe it's just my browser.

    Nice points - and I love the tone.

  3. Just came here from Fastcompany where you left a link. Thanks. It is a very funny and sadly depressingly true. My favourite is when the presenter says "you won't be able to read this but...". That is when I leave.


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