Monday, January 21, 2008

powerpoint abuse

I just got home from an orientation night for a volunteer position that would be really cool. The night itself didn't exactly sell the opportunity though.

The first 35 minutes of the meeting (yes, I said 35 minutes) was spent listening to three different people read bullets from PowerPoint slides, word for word. The presentation was intended to bring to life what the organization does and what volunteers can do to make it better. So someone just barfed all the information on to some paper, and then three people read it all out to us. And thank goodness they read it to us, because it's not as if a room full of people could figure out how to read a bunch of information on their own.

Well, they had my attention for approximately 4 of the 35 minutes, and those 4 weren't happy moments. As you may know, I have a fetish for proper usage of the English language, and one of the speakers just couldn't get any of the bullets right. I would say she stumbled on about 1 out of every 3 words she spoke. For a few minutes, I read along with her, silently correcting every one of her mistakes, hoping that I could will her into a state of better reading. Then I tired of that too.

Why oh why?!

This is not how PowerPoint was meant to be used. And this is not how PowerPoint should ever be used. As marketing smartypants Seth Godin writes, bullets are for the NRA. Your slides, on the other hand, are your chance to reinforce what you're saying, through images or simple language. They certainly shouldn't be your big chance to alienate your audience. Most of us can do that easily, without props, all on our own.

After the 35 minutes of hell, there was some extemporaneous discussion. However, most people around me had descended into a brain activity level just above coma, so the discussion was not what I would describe as lively.

I did momentarily snap back into the real world when I heard the words "scent-free." I almost choked on my stale Oreo cookie (thanks for that crappy offering, btw, you boring PowerPoint offenders). Apparently this place too is a scent-free environment. Between this and the yoga joint, I think I'm meeting more than my fair share of scent-free crazies these days. Perhaps someone is trying to send me a sign? Hopefully it's not written in PowerPoint.


PS: yay, Sunny's back.

1 comment:


Powerpoint is one of those things that falls into the category of:

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

My virginal days with PPT shows were rough... I dare say my talks have improved since.

Especially since I dropped the bullet points. =)