Oh the agonising sessions I’ve been to! I once had to sit through a presentation of 82 slides! 82! Madness. Boring and irritating.
I’m thinking about good old PowerPoint because of Cromley – who points out that people sometimes get PowerPoint confused with Word.
Well that would explain some of the text heavy slides I’ve seen in my time.
It seems to me that PowerPoint has made us lazy. We don’t have to learn our speeches off by heart any more. We don’t have to think of ways to “entertain” our audience.
And because speakers are so focussed on their slides they don’t see the eye rolls, the yawns, the snores… those glazed looks when people just have their eyes pointed in the right direction but are not actually seeing anything.
When Groover worked for GE Capital a hundred years ago, they had a corporate policy on PowerPoint: Only ONE slide per presentation. One!
So you had to make it a good one.
Maybe that’s a little extreme – but then, maybe the MD like me had been bored mental by Powerpoint presentations.
Personally I think if you are going to have slides they need to offer something that you can’t in your speech. A graph. An image. A video. A groovy animation – which PowerPoint is quite good at making.
One speaker I saw who used it very effectively had an automatic presentation with a soundscape running behind it. He used images which just smoothly changed from one to the other. At the most there was maybe three words, if any at all, on the slide. He just told his story and the slides ran in the background. He didn’t talk “to” his slides at all.
Do you use PowerPoint? How do you use it effectively?
Update: If you enjoyed this article you might want to read my article on public speaking.