Tuesday 16th May 2017
Here’s what PowerPoint says to you when you open it up to start work on your presentation…
“Hello Sir / Madam (delete as applicable). Thank you for opening me up to produce your presentation. Now let’s get started. That’s right, add a new slide and look, it’s a title slide. Pop a quick title in there and we’ll go on to the next slide.
“OK, the next slide is a text slide. That box at the top is where you can type in your title and then there’s a nice big box underneath where you can start tapping away those lovely bullet points. Yes that’s it, type away and keep adding lots of lovely text for your audience to read.”
Now I don’t really think that PowerPoint is rubbish but what is irksome is that when you start a presentation, it encourages you to do the exact opposite of what you should be doing – it gets you to add text slide after text slide and that’s a sure-fire way of ending up with a presentation that will make your audience want to gouge out their own eyes with a rusty spoon!
If PowerPoint had a voice, this is what I’d like it to be saying…
“Hey Dude! (I don’t know why it’s suddenly become so much more informal!). Thanks for opening me up to produce your presentation. Now before we begin, do you know what you’re talking about, who you’re talking to and what your key message is going to be? No? Well, sorry dude but I’m afraid I’m not going to let you go any further until you do!”
Then it will unceremoniously close itself down until you are able to go back to it with a positive answer. And when you do go back to it with a positive answer, this is what it should say…
“Well done dude. So let’s get started. I’ve changed a bit since you last looked at me. I’m not going to encourage you to fill your slides with text anymore. What I’m going to get you to do is to sit in the audience and imagine you’re listening to and watching your own presentation. If at any point you start to fall asleep then you know you are going wrong. Take some advice from The Slide Presentation Man to produce a deck of slides that will enhance or reinforce your speech.” (Thanks PowerPoint, nice bit of endorsement!)
PowerPoint is actually a great tool for producing your slide presentations – if it’s used properly. But make sure you guide it and not the other way round.