Some years back, the inimitable Mr Godin wrote a lovely little ebook on the topic of PowerPoint. He proposed some excellent and beautifully expressed ideas on how to use that tool to greater effect when you are presenting to an audience.Here we are at the beginning of 2007, and Seth seems a little peeved that his suggestions have not been, shall we say, wholeheartedly embraced, by the presenters of the world. From his blog:

Really Bad Powerpoint – I wrote this about four years ago, originally as an ebook. I figured the idea might spread and then the problem would go away – we’d no longer see thousands of hours wasted, every single day, by boring PowerPoint presentations filled with bullets. Not only has it not gone away, it’s gotten a lot worse.”

Well, I’m sorry to have to say this Seth, but du-uh!I have decided to bow to the inevitable and take a leadership stance on behalf of dreadful, lazy; self-indulgent presenters everywhere. May I humbly present my Appalling Presenter’s Manifesto. This way, when abysmal presentation sweeps over the planet like a plague from the old testament, I can take due credit – or blame – for it. [This is kind of like when Uri Geller rang in to a television station that had just announced that Big Ben has stopped and said, “Hey! That was me! I made that happen!”]

THE APPALLING PRESENTER MANIFESTO

Just in case there is anyone who is unaware of your ineptitude, indolence, ignorance and supercilious nature, make sure you include a minimum of seven (7) of the following elements in your next presentation:

  • Ass Narcissism (N’arse’issism) – “I’m going to turn my back on you now and read all my slides off the screen. Enjoy the view!”
  • Tolstoy Wannabe – “I know that I can fit the entire text of War & Peace onto the next three slides. Thank God for sub-bullets!”
  • Oblivious Myopia – these presenters literally cannot and do not want to see beyond the end of their nose and so fail to notice that their audience is either asleep or has gone home.
  • Friendly Face Tunnel Vision – those who can see only the one person in the audience who is smiling and nodding out of sympathy, not the other 99 who have fallen asleep/gone home.
  • “I’m Eclipse Boy!” – “There must be some moth in my genetic heritage; but you can read the slide off my chest can’t you?”
  • Hypoempathy – presenters who use the phrase, “Now this is a very important point” more than once never ask themselves the essential question – important to who?
  • “Gotta sing, gotta dance” – “Sure, this topic could have been covered in an email, but what can I say? I just loooove being bathed in the glow of the data projector.” (subset – Jazz Hands, in which the presenter imitates a puppeteer on speed.)
  • Slide Amnesia – a subset of Ass Narcissism, when the presenter seems surprised that a certain slide has popped up on screen and is therefore forced to read it out word for word …
  • Dispunctional – the presenter has no concept of time and is eating into the next presenter’s slot or, worse yet, into coffee break.
  • Complarrogance – a rare condition, characterised by all of the above symptoms.

… See? It’s working already! Witness the virus of my idea is spreading, slowly … insidiously … silently. Bwuhahahahaha!

You can find Seth’s ebook here. He also very kindly commented on this post …