I did the usual things to help, given that we didn't have much time. I showed her how to add some images, pick and choose a theme to apply, clean up the formatting, etc.
But I knew that no matter how much we worked on it, it wasn't going to have the kind of impact on her students that she was looking for. She had fallen victim to the same kind of PowerPoint trap that so many of us encounter. If one word is good, then two are better, right?
Fortunately, although it's too late for that particular slide show, marketing guru Seth Godin has ridden to the rescue. He's just re-posted to his blog a piece called "Really Bad PowerPoint". He says he first wrote it about four years ago...
I figured the idea might spread and then the problem would go away--we'd no longer see thousands of hours wasted, every single day, by boring PowerPoint presentations filled with bullets.
Not only has it not gone away, it's gotten a lot worse. Last week I got a template from a conference organizer. It seems they want every single presenter to not only use bullets for their presentations, but for all of us to use the same format! Shudder.
So, for posterity, and in the vain hope it might work, here we go again:
Then he lays out his secrets for creating and delivering a great presentation.
If you have to deliver presentations, or help others to put them together, you should read this piece and think about how you could put it to good use. It's filled with good ideas and suggestions -- things that most of us already know but rarely follow through on. Like these rules:
Here are the five rules you need to remember to create amazing Powerpoint presentations:
1. No more than six words on a slide. EVER. There is no presentation so complex that this rule needs to be broken.
2. No cheesy images. Use professional stock photo images.
3. No dissolves, spins or other transitions.
4. Sound effects can be used a few times per presentation, but never use the sound effects that are built in to the program. Instead, rip sounds and music from CDs and leverage the Proustian effect this can have. If people start bouncing up and down to the Grateful Dead, you’ve kept them from falling asleep, and you’ve reminded them that this isn’t a typical meeting you’re running.
5. Don’t hand out print-outs of your slides. They don’t work without you there.
PowerPoint is a fabulous program but it's become a crutch for too many of us. We expect the technology to gloss over the fact that we don't really have that much to say.
But what we really do is fail to take the time to map out our presentation and make sure it's going to have the impact we want. It's not something you can just throw together at the last minute.
So what do you say? Let's all take a pledge to think about our presentations and take the time to follow Seth's advice. Who's with me? Hello? Where is everyone?
Technorati Tag: presentations