Cheaters (part 2)

So, I’ve gotten three letters (from three different continents) in the last week about Really Bad Powerpoint (see below).

They all say the same thing,

“I really enjoyed your ebook Really Bad Powerpoint, and I understand how the advice could be effective for [insert your own profession here, but something soft, like politics or the arts]. However, my work is quite technical. My peers [in the medical profession, at the university, at the VC firm] would laugh me out of the room if I tried to make my presentations have less than six words per slide.”

This, of course, is nonsense. In the paleolithic era–before PowerPoint–of course, there were NO slides. So if we start from the beginning and realize that whatever is on your slide is a BONUS, something that complements your words and your handouts, it gets a lot easier to see how this might help you.

The bigger issue, the one I can’t let go of, is this: If what you are doing isn’t working, why is it so easy to reject alternative advice? If a peer or a writer or a competitor can show you something that is working for others in different circumstances, why does human nature make it so easy to say, “sure, that’ll work for YOU, but my situation is totally different…”

The number of times you’ll find yourself in a completely unique situation at work is pretty limited. Unless you work on a nuclear submarine, it’s pretty easy to imagine that there are more commonalities than differences when it comes to communication, marketing and management. Time to loosen up a bit, say I, and give the alternative way of thinking a try.

PS I challenged one of the writers to send me a few slides. It was pretty easy to show him how straightforward it would be to rip out the bullets and most of the text… but you’re on your own, please don’t send me any more powerpoints!