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Tuesday
Dec062011

Powerpoint. The ultimate cure for insomnia?

It is said that at, at any given time, there are one million PowerPoint presentations taking place.

Chances are, close to a million insomniacs are being cured instantly.

It's been almost five years since Alexei Kapterev's "Death by Powerpoint" youtube video went viral.

With some notable exceptions, nothing much has changed.

PowerPoint is still being used as a script rather than a visual aid or aide-mémoire. Right on autocue, wooden monologues are the order of the day - from Sales Conferences to Annual Reports.

Crucially, this style of presentation is perceived as a failure of leadership.

  • Without a script, it's thought, leaders dare not venture out in public.
  • Leaders are displaying their reading and acting skills and not their conviction.
  • Politicians dare not speak their own words and thus rely on a legion of speech-writers.

But, of course, many of us can see through this illusion.

I have a confession. I use PowerPoint. I use it to enhance my narrative; to support my argument; to reinforce my proposition. But, in the wrong hands, it can lead to your metaphorical death - as Tom Fishburne illustrates.

"Death by PowerPoint" cartoon | Tom Fishburne: Marketoonist

I was struck by this quote from Steve Jobs, soon after he returned to Apple:

“I hate the way people use slide presentations instead of thinking. People confront a problem by creating a presentation. I wanted them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”

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