Ah Yes, the Powerpoint

I don’t hate Bill Gates.  I really have no reason to do so because I’ve never met the man and I use his products daily – as do most of us.  I hear people complaining that Microsoft products are ‘crap’, yet they seem to work and no other company has successfully marketed a better product to replace them.

Here’s my gripe though. I am convinced that Microsoft PowerPoint must be single-handedly responsible globally for more mind-numbingly boring and pointless presentations of bullcrap and glaringly obvious statements than any other medium on earth.

In the good old days, salespeople, managers, team leaders and trainers would stand in front of an audience, deliver their spiel, sometimes back it up with a few overheads and then go back to the real world of private email, drinking tea, or even looking out of the window.  All of these activities were far more productive than producing megabytes of PowerPoint presentations!

In the brave new world of PowerPoint, amateurishly scrawled overheads have been replaced by their electronic equivalent complete with transitional fades, fancy bullet points, electronic applause and text layouts in multiple vomit inducing colours.  These tools appropriately used to allow a five minute briefing to be stretched into a whole day of torture that will bore everyone rigid.  First of all though, don’t forget that days of work go into preparing the presentation, downloading silly little cartoon clips from the Internet and most importantly – writing and rewriting statements such as:

“Our customers will stay with us if we make them feel important.” (This is earth shattering stuff.)
“We must look after our customers’ needs.” (OMG, thanks for telling me.)
“Our customer’s are important.” (The apostrophe is intentional!)

During this process, colleague ‘A’ will go to colleague ‘B’ in the next office with an email so ‘B’ can see what a great job ‘A’ has done.   Colleague ‘B’ will then email “A” something along the lines of “Important” does not convey the right meaning.  How about “… make them feel like Number One.”  Then colleague ‘A’ will find some objection to that, and so it goes ad infinitum; wasting time and resources when nobody really gives a toss how it’s worded as it really doesn’t even need to be said at all!

Eventually the PowerPoint presentation is put together with perhaps 60 or 70 slides, all making the same banal points in various different ways.  Pretty graphs will be thrown in too, along with the usual business speak jargon.  The intended troop in, the presenter then stands with his back to the audience and reads the text of the slides in a monotone whilst members of the audience groan inwardly or fall asleep.  In many cases the only points of interest being the spelling and grammatical mistakes which creep in, or the ability to play coin new phrases from the business buzzwords and acronyms that pop up with monotonous regularity!

Some of the words which I should like to see banned from PowerPoint presentation because without them this scourge of modern business would cease to exist, are: Model (as in ‘business model’), usability, deliverables, quantifiable, measurable, grow (as in ‘to grow our business’), objectives and methodology!  Arrrghhh!!

 

PowerPoint slides available upon request!

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