I'm at yet another event, and this time I decided to go see a few of the other sessions instead of just trying to find as much free food as possible between my own presentations. This experience brought to mind an old concept: "Death by PowerPoint." It is almost embarrassing how some people use PowerPoint. Steve Riley frequently refers to e-mail as "the place where knowledge goes to die." Well Steve, you have it wrong. Nothing kills knowledge as fast as putting it in PowerPoint.
Some of the most egregious ways to use PowerPoint I have seen include:
Do you have a favorite story about "Death by PowerPoint?" Let me know! Post a comment or send me an e-mail if you don't want it posted.
Bless you Jesper, bless you! As an occasional trainer, I try really hard not to be the person who sits there reading the contents of a Powerpoint slide to a classroom. It likewise makes me crazy when people do it to me. At Tech Ed I did exactly what you described here; that is, I stopped going to the presentations and just hung around the Cabanas all day - I just got my DVD full of slide decks and will be going through them now as time permits. (I really think the only ones I sat all the way through were yours, Steve's, and Mark Russinovich's.)
So glad to see that you're blogging, can't wait to read more!
very funny (unfortunately) and very true. I remember a lot of slides which looked like someone copied the whitepaper in it ;-)
One topic I was smiling about: I guess the per-event-template is also used to force the speakers to overdue and maybe overthink their presentation, so it's up to date. I don't want to know how old certain presentations would get if they just could resubmit without changes ;-)
But anyways, was funny to read and I can't wait for the next part "Death by the speaker".
And Laura: admit it was very interesting in the cabanas, next time we should just put our cabana-table on a stage in one of the session rooms and we'll have the most technical and most interesting session ever ;-)
I really enjoyed meeting so many people at tonight's TechNet event. Apologies to those who couldn't find...
I work with a number of colleagues who do not understand the value of the slide master and consequently am constantly faced with slides where the basic information jumps all over the place. Or half way through a badly prepared presentation the style and layout is changed all together.
Another visual problem is where the design on the master is overcomplicated and incorporates dark conflicting colours. This may look exciting on the PC monitor but is hellishly difficult to read over a projector.
Please please use slide masters and keep the look and feel simple.
Jesper, who seems to live on planes at the moment, has blogged about how to make your Powerpoint presentations...
I hear you on all your points, except #2 (Most of your audience probably knows how to read).
I was responsible for doing the technical training at one of my previous employers. We gave the slides out afterwards and put them up on the intranet. Would you believe the number one complaint was the slides didn't contain enough information? They were "too brief". Good grief, damned if you do, damned if you don't.
PS. Number two complaint was better food. No one liked the cheese and crackers we served.
There are two parts to a PowerPoint presentation: the slides, and the talk. Presentations definitely go better when the PowerPoint part of it follows Jesper's advice. Unfortunately for those of use who miss the presentation, such sparse slides aren't much good on their own. Looking back at slides from TechEd NZ (just a couple of weeks ago), I find in many cases the slides alone aren't enough to jog my memory about what was said at talks I was paying attention to, never mind those I missed entirely.
If your presentation is to live on after the talk, you need to provide more than a copy of your slides. For a conference presentation, add some notes to your slides, to help fill in the gaps.
Most of use don't present at conferences. Our presentations are summaries of larger works: project proposals, progress reports, testing results, etc. Often, these should be independent documents, which should be provided instead of PowerPoint slides.
Hi Jesper, I'm curious about where you got your colour disabilities information from.
I've been using this site as a guide: http://www.lighthouse.org/color_contrast.htm
Personal experience Stephen. I'm pretty gravely color blind.
I really like the site you linked. It should be a requirement to read things like that for people who are NOT color deficient and who create presentations.
One missing horror....
The animated bullet points that zoom in from the side of the screen and come to a sudden halt. Often with sound effect :-(
Just what you need after a good lunch.
I could have thought of it myself, but I never did. When testing on slide of my presentation I always hit F5. Thus I had to press PgDn a lot to get to the slide I wanted to see.
SHIFT-F5. Helpfull tip. Thanks.
Very true. I am color blind and once I attended a meeting where the presenter had used a red font on a dark green background. I could only guess the text since it had a shadow applied, which is usually a bad thing - especially with small fonts. But in this case the shadow had a different color that was in my visual spectrum.
Besides I try to stick to my PPT master even if the conference owners try to provide their own (black on white) ones.
You, and Terry B above, have covered these points quite well! I trained on presentations using the old overhead transparencies technique. These were expensive to produce and therefore, we used them as needed - only a little bit of info to jog the memory.
Now, PP, is everywhere for everyone - I hate those animated presentations - it's like someone found the button and said "Hey, I can make these move!" Then, they creat hideous slides just because they can! Ouch!
Thanks for the tips - I'm sending the link to my boss right now!