I am blessed in my job that I am never ever asked to produce a Powerpoint presentation, and very rarely do I have to sit through one. This week, however, I've had to sit through eight, and it's not even Friday yet. But look, I have been paying attention...
How to prepare a Powerpoint presentation • Construct a title screen that includes your name, your job title, and maybe a photo of yourself taken five years ago. • Choose a snazzy background for each slide, preferably one that makes the text almost, but not quite, unreadable. • Make sure that your company logo and a meaningless slogan appear in a prominent position in one corner of every slide. • Arrange for each slide to merge into the next using a really annoying fade technique.
Use of bullet points • Use lots and lots of short bullet points. • Lots of them. • Lots and lots of them. • Read out what each bullet point says, without elaborating further, even though your audience can read perfectly well on their own. • Ensure that bullet points appear on screen one at a time, not all in one go, so that your audience can't jump ahead of you, read everything you're going to say next and then fall asleep.
Different presentational styles • Presenters in their 20s construct lively presentations using flashy graphics, video excerpts, sound clips, and virtually no content. • Presenters in their 30s construct bland presentations using flow charts, graphs, mission statements and corporate buzzwords, because they're actively seeking promotion at all times. • Presenters in their 40s delegate an underling in their 30s to construct their presentations for them. • Presenters in their 50s read from a set of cards instead.
Troubleshooting • Learn which is the fast forward button, in case you're running out of time and suddenly need to miss ten slides out. • Photocopy your entire presentation on a handout, so it doesn't matter when half your audience falls asleep halfway through. • If yours is the second presentation of the day, conceal your lack of IT skills by turning off the projector while trying to hunt through 15 folders on the hard drive trying to locate it. • End of slide show, click to exit.