stacked deck

back in 1987, a company called Forethought released version 1.0 of an application called PowerPoint. later that year, an outfit called Microsoft (you may have heard of them) purchased Forethought and, eventually, began including PowerPoint in its Office software bundle. while i can only speak to experience in my current and previous employers, i believe it\’s safe to assume that PowerPoint has become the standard tool for giving presentations in most organizations.

to me, the point of using visual aids during any type of presentation is to underscore the message you are delivering. to use a tasty analogy, it\’s the sour cream on your nacho chip; it builds upon the foundation you\’ve set, adding flair to help the consumer believe and remember your point. sour cream alone does not define a nacho chip; the former enhances the latter. similarly, one should not rely on the presentation slide alone to make your point– it should just underscore it.

why am i going on with this weird-ass analogy? simple. very few people know how to make an effective presentation using PowerPoint. according to a google search on \”effective PowerPoint presentations, the best slide contains one of two things: A) a (single) simple graph, chart, or image, or 2) six or less words. for those of us who witness presentations on a regular basis, can you recall the last time you saw a presentation that stuck to these rules? have you ever seen one?

the reason i\’m ranting: today i received a deck for a 90 minute presentation i\’m attending tomorrow. there are 61 slides. here are some examples (shrunk to a degree that won\’t get me fired for sharing confidential material):









8 responses to “stacked deck”

  1. alex Avatar

    Oof. 61 slides times the average time it’d take your normal drone to read all that text equals… are you going to an all-day retreat somewhere? ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. wadE Avatar

    not to defend this practice, but in many cases the idea is for the presenter to hit the big items on each page, and then people have the detail in hardcopy form to take away and review or refer back to… of course who the **** actually reviews those decks afterwards? ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. anderswa Avatar

    wow, a project manager defending bad powerpoint slides. ironic, that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Brian Scott Avatar

    I liked how you all used smileys. Very friendly. And I think yours, Wade, is winking. That’s awesome.

  5. monkey Avatar

    Here’s the one thing I’ll say in favor of dense slides: “Comrade, why are we having this meeting? The rate of information transfer is asymptotically approaching zero!” If yer slide don’t say anything, why oh why are you showing it to me and reading it verbatim? I tend to bring reading material to meetings…
    Whenever I go to the chalk, er, whiteboard in the middle of a presentation I’m giving (corporate — not academic) to explain a point or question further, everybody starts to look a little uncomfortable. That always provokes two reactions in me: a little part of me giggles and a little part of me dies. Sigh. PowerPoint is not the only possible medium, though people treat it that way.
    Oh, and ๐Ÿ˜›
    Four score and NYET!

  6. anderswa Avatar

    thanks, monkey, for sharing the gettysburg ppt. one of my all-time favorites…

  7. Bounce Avatar

    10 Slides
    20 Minutes
    30 Point Type

    Got this from a seminar on giving presentations and I still think it’s a great way to do it. If you have all the info you need on the powerpoint absolutely no one is going to pay attention to you actually discussing it.

    Of course, I now work at a company where I have two separate tech departments; one to change out my computer and another to actually pick up the extra computer sitting in my cube so I don’t know how implementable this will be at the new gig.

  8. blondebombchelle Avatar

    And I thought this was an article about what they called me in High School

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