PowerPoint presentations from hell

3 Jul

Last week I suffered through a continuing legal education program where one of the presenters put together a horrible PowerPoint presentation. Of course, when he began to use it, he had a few put-downs about having to have a presentation.

I wonder about this: Does the fact that presenters themselves seem to feel obliged to knock PowerPoint presentations ever give these presenters a clue that maybe their presentations are lousy?

I don’t know who did the presentation for this lawyer, but it was a mess. First, it had sort of a light blue background, a few clouds at the top (why this theme was selected, I don’t know). And then the text was a dark blue. Guess what–not enough contrast, and it was hard to read.

The biggest problem, though, was that every stinking slide was stuffed to the edges with text. Bullet points used every square inch of screen real estate. Heck, if the lawyer expected us to read all that crap, why didn’t he just pass out a paper with those bullet points on it?

The lesson here is that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do PowerPoint (or, if you’re lucky enough to be using Apple’s Keynote software) presentations. Just because everyone does these presentations with lots of bullet points doesn’t mean it’s the right way. In fact, it’s the WRONG way.

In a presentation, you want people to be listening to you, not reading your slides or handouts.

Take a look at Beyond Bullet Points (sociablemedia.com) and Presentation Zen for inspiration and insight.

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