Phil Lawler expresses the same frustration many of us have with dull, droning PowerPoint presentations.
Consider how the omnipresent use of PowerPoint—with its attendant boundaries of bullet points and slides—actually limit innovation and communication in corporations. If it can’t be boiled down to easily digested bits of information—the Ivy League business school equivalent of food-processorized Chicken McNuggets—it can’t be communicated to management and colleagues and clients and thus it it ends up on the virtual cutting room floor. (Ah, mixed metaphors!)
And yet presentations don’t have to be evil. Go ahead and give all the detailed stuff in bullet-point handouts, but keep the presentation light. Use imagery (no clipart!) and headlines instead of bullets or, God forbid, bullets. Talk off the top of your head; don’t drone from written notes.
Heck, I know people who connect their iPad to a projector and *draw* their presentation on the fly! Now that’s creative!
Now some will rightly point out: “But Dom, I’ve seen your presentations and you have bullet points!” Yes, I have done that. And I hang my head in shame because when I’m running out of time and rushing it’s easy to fall back on bullet points (think of that next time you see a heavily bullet-pointed presentation). On the other hand, I never, ever resort to just reading them through. I figure if you can see it on the screen and in your handout, you don’t need me to read it to you.
So for the love of innovation and for the continued patriotic dominance of American industry throughout the world, I implore you to stop reading your bullet points word for word and to break out of the Microsoft PowerPoint box.
N.B. Incidentally I prefer Apple’s Keynote presentation software. For one thing it’s design more readily accommodates breaking from the PowerPoint paradigm. Plus it works more like Mac software.
Photo by Chris Pirillo. Used under a Creative Commons license.