The plague that is Powerpoint
Ian Lurie Sep 17 2009
I’m striking out against the grand tradition of Powerpoint-as-outline, aka Powerlines. They’re a fatal illness breaking out at conventions, conferences and in board meetings across the country.
The authorities would like you to think this is all under control. But trust me, THEY WON’T DO ANYTHING until it’s TOO LATE, and we’re all barricaded in our homes, fending off thousands of zombified Powerpoint addicts.
So we must take matters into our own hands.
Powerpoint slides should serve as:
- Counterpoint or emphasis;
- Background; or
- Illustration and support.
They should not be:
- A word-for-word transcript of your presentation;
- A detailed outline of same; or
- Torture inflicted upon your audience by way of severe eyestrain.
An example: Emphasis
The slide at the beginning of this post is supposed to express the horrors that can happen when Ian Gets No Chocolate. So, instead of a bunch of words, what if we tried:
That image works admirably. Why? Because I, or the biologist who studies my corpse after I’ve been without chocolate for 3 full weeks, will be standing there. And I (or she) will be saying “Chocolate is good. Plus it keeps Ian from going insane. So when he hasn’t for any for a long time, it can get ugly. We’re just sayin’.”.
An example: Illustration/Support
Or, you can support the same statement with this:
Powerpoint doesn’t kill people…
…People filling Powerpoint slides with text kill people.
Pledge with me: “I shall not use Powerpoint as line-by-line documentation. I shall use Powerpoint to set environment and tone, and reinforce my presentation.”
Amen, brothers and sisters!
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More