Please beef it up

I'm not talking about going to the gym.

This was what my boss said when he saw my 10-slide Powerpoint presentation which I was going to use to present to his boss (my big boss) what the department has done in the past year and our plans and challenges for the next year. To be fair to him (he's a great boss btw), a 10-page presentation to cover what was done in the entire year would be enough to give any boss a heart attack. My presentation contained about 3 tables/charts and there were no more than 5 points per slide and each point just had a couple of words. Anyway, I beefed it up and sent it to my boss but I mentioned that I will be presenting the version without the elaboration on the points. He agreed to that and the presentation went well in the end. (I got a promotion the following year... that's why I said he's a great boss).

Ever sat waiting for a presentation to commence and you see the presenter open up a Powerpoint file with 50 slides for a 1-hour presentation? I don't know what goes through your mind but I always think: OMG, I got to sit though that presentation?!

Too much information

Most presenters have the practice of cramming a whole load of information into the slides. Here are a few reasons why:

- It gives presenters a sense of security (in case they forget their lines). Some of them even go to the extreme of reading off each point line by line and word for word. I'm thinking: I can read faster than you can speak so why don't you just stop reading and we'll all sit here and read your slides.

- Many people are afraid to be asked questions. The best way to avoid questions is to leave no time for them so presenters write as much (bullshit?) as they can to fill up the time.

- Bosses and colleagues want the slides to contain all the details so that the people who don't turn up for the presentation can read the slides and still understand the content. Why do we bother so much about those who didn't bother to show up?

Whenever I see all the explanations in the slides, I tend to think: I can go to sleep first and read the slide later (which never happens). I prefer keeping my slides to a minimum - having no explanation in the slides forces people to stay alert to listen, think, make notes and participate by asking questions.

Templates, Animation and Sounds

Someone working in a reputable global firm told me that that his colleagues spend time making beautiful Powerpoint presentations with fantastic animation, emailing them to everyone in the company but nobody ever reads them!

Some companies are particular about which Powerpoint template to use. I recall I was sitting in the hotel room reformatting my the Powerpoint file the night before my presentation because we had a new corporate template distributed that day. Fortunately, I only had 10 slides. I'm just glad animations were not compulsory.

I honestly HATE animations! Especially that one with the alphabets appearing 1 by 1 with the sound of a typewriter. Remember the screeching sound of nails scratching on the chalkboard? This is the new version of it. Whoever came up with this animation and sound has found a new way of irritating the hell out of people! I bet he's still laughing in his grave if he's already dead. If he's not already dead, I wish I can lock the guy up in a room and play a presentation with that animation and sound to him continuously until he kills himself.

How can anyone use that animation and sound? Do they miss the sound of the typewriter, do they think people are morons like themselves capable only of reading one alphabet at a time, or are they sadists? If I were a cartoon animator, I would drop an anvil on their heads! Please do NOT email me such Powerpoint presentations regardless of the content (meaningful, cute, funny, etc). I know you have suffered badly if someone sent it to you but please don't make anyone else suffer. Microsoft should get rid of that animation and sound in the next version of the software and banish it from the face of the earth!

Or did Bill Gates come up with that?


Anonymous said...

just looking for some advice