Sunday, June 12, 2005

You've seen it before, over and over and over again: PowerPoint presentations that contain practically every word pouring out of the presenter's mouth, slides that digitally drone on and on and on and...

PowerPoint, when used well, can be a useful, powerful (hmmm) and productive tool. But more often than not, it's a bane of our existence, putting us to sleep with completely forgettable blocks of useless text and gratuitous effects.

I have seen PowerPoint used as that proverbial, metaphorical screwdriver, where the proper tool would instead be a hammer. I've seen attempts at web-site designs done in PowerPoint (by the way - that still doesn't work people). I've seen it used over and over - by a wide variety of people trying desperately (and with good intentions, I am sure) to create something outside their area of expertise - using it to do things for which it simply was never intended.

But even when PowerPoint is used what is was meant for - creating slides for presentations - it can be painful to see how people use it. It's a software tool and requires some level of technical understanding to be sure, but technical expertise in using the program is not the most important part of the job.

PowerPoint has become a crutch, and more often than not it's damaging the patient. It's the loaded gun in the hands of the untrained shooter. It's the '79 Cadillac being driven by the nine-year-old who learned by watching mommy.

Kathy Sierra gets this. She understands, and she wrote about it to try (I assume) to make a difference in how it's used in the world. If you use PowerPoint, regardless of your expertise of years of experience you should read her post and take it to heart.

I've also been reading Cliff Atkinson's new book, "Beyond Bullet Points," and it's a great book for learning how to put together effective presentations "that inform, motivate and inspire." Recommended.

PowerPoint's a great program, to be sure. But it's only a good tool when put in the hands of someone who knows how and when to apply it. Kathy's post should be mandatory training. We license drivers... Maybe we should come up with a test and a license for PowerPoint users?



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Random Stuff | Tech | Things that Suck
Sunday, June 12, 2005 12:51:24 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Sunday, June 12, 2005 4:49:36 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
"We license drivers... Maybe we should come up with a test and a license for PowerPoint users? "

Oh that is hilarious Greg! I so want to walk up to the next person I see doing a bad PP show and ask if they've got a license for that weapon.

While we're at it, let's make managers get a license for holding meetings.

Thanks for this post. ; )
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