Death by PowerPoint

The Setting: A convention or conference. 500 + people in audience.

The Speaker: A member of the organization’s leadership team, or guest speaker.

“Good morning! I’m pleased to be here. Let me begin with the following guarantee: Within five minutes, most of you will be completely bored and disengaged. Ten minutes into my presentation, you will be looking for a way to escape the pain I am imposing upon you. By the 15-minute mark, I will easily have lost 80% of you to your smart phones.”

“By the way, I promise to speak well beyond my allotted time, thereby completely shredding the schedule and cutting into the presentation times of everyone else.”

“Now for my first slide, which is in 10-point font, meaning no one beyond the first row of seats can read the message …”

Arrrrgh!!!

Of course, these words are never uttered, but every one of us has had to endure Death by PowerPoint during a conference or meeting.

If the presenter were completely honest, the audience would also hear at least one of the following:

“My slide deck and presentation stinks because …” (choose one):

  1. I’m just too darned busy to prepare, (I don’t care)
  2. I’m a top executive and nobody has the guts to critique my presentation,
  3. I’ve never presented to a group larger than ten people, and my slides reflect this,
  4. I’m scared to death, so I will recite my entire presentation from the slides I’m now showing.    
  5. My company is too cheap to invest in presentation coaches for executives. (We blew the budget on fancy meals and golf outings for this conference).

Millions of hours are wasted in meetings and conferences every year due to lousy presentations. What steps will you take to avoid Death by PowerPoint?