Presentations: Licensed to kill?

Presentations: Licensed to kill?

A friend of mine is a Firearms Instructor with the police. Years of training and experience in the field eventually qualified him for the position. Naturally, he takes the work of licensing people to use guns very seriously.

Being a meticulous trainer he never shuns the responsibility of the job. He is quite happy to tell people (of any rank) when they’ve made a mistake or that their attitude to the use of firearms is incorrect. As you might expect, the standards achieved are very high.

Contrast this situation with any lengthy PowerPoint presentation you’ve endured.

Did the presenter do any of the following?

• Spray the audience with countless slides
• Include mind-numbing on-screen detail that few even understood
• Avoid use of creative imagery
• Use far too much creative imagery
• Expect audience members to possess telescopic eyes
• Focus on the slides at the expense of engaging the audience
• Read from any of the slides
• Speak in a monotonic drawl because PowerPoint was doing all the work
• Go way past the agreed deadline because 186 slides didn’t fit into 20 minutes

Why is presentation abuse of this nature such a serious problem?

The reason: People all over the world are able to get hold of a PowerPoint licence far too easily – no questions asked! And once the tool is in the user’s hands, they are only one step away from potentially boring to death not just one person, but an entire audience!

With PowerPoint comes responsibility. Used properly by people who can apply common sense (and preferably have received sound guidance and training) presentations are a joy to receive. Unfortunately, the licence to thrill it seems is experienced far too infrequently.

My request to you…

When you next find yourself on the receiving end of a killer ‘PowerPointless’ presentation, help save others from a similar fate. Breathe life into the presenter’s work by offering constructive, honest feedback. Or alternatively, send them a link to this post and hope it triggers some thinking.

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