Friday, September 21, 2007

How PowerPoint can and should be great

I attended the a translation industry conference this week in London. The people involved in this industry are highly intelligent, witty and engaging people. They write for a living.

Translation is probably harder than original writing, you have to get under the skin of the original to ensure you convey the right meaning.

So you'd have thought that the presentations, using the ubiquitous PowerPoint, would have been engaging, funny, intellectual, challenging even.

No. They all used the same dull, formulaic bullet point approach.

For me getting to London isn't easy, there are cars, trams, trains and tubes involved as well as hotels well away from where I need to be. So I get quite annoyed when a presenter either just reads out loud to me what I can plainly read for myself, or uses really complex diagrams that even they don't understand or explain.

If that's what you're going to do save me the hassle and just email or post me your notes, because I can read!

Only one presentation used any humor and only mine didn't use bullets. I'd have loved to have used humour but the subject matter didn't fit.

I know everyone hates giving presentations, but at the end of the day they have to be entertaining or at least informative. Reading aloud what I can all ready see it just a waste of my time and yours. Please don't do it.

Next time you have a presentation to give. Drop me an email, I'll be more than happy to take a look and give a few pointers. Alternatively take a look at Presentation Zen, you'll never look back and bullet points will be a thing of the past.

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