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Death… By Powerpoint!

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We’ve all sat through them.  Some of us are even responsible for perpetuating them.  Powerpoint-fests are a staple of modern business and it is likely that we are stuck with them until the advent of a holographic surround sound/surrond animation method of imparting knowledge to a room full of workshop participants is developed.

This morning, en-route to Louisville, KY for a week that will end with what else, a big powerpoint presentation, I ducked into the President’s Club at Houston Bush Airport and relieved said establishment of a stale bagel and a copy of today’s Financial Times (US edition).  Therein, I was pleased to find an article written by my favorite management columnist, Lucy Kellaway, on the pitfalls of Powerpoint presentations.  You can read her article in it’s entirety here, but to summarize Ms. Kellaway’s thoughts, she points out that the economic impact of people sitting through powerpointfests is over one hundred million Euros per year.  The impact on the mental agility of those forced to sit through bad powerpoint presentations is not however calculable but she implies that attending such presentations may leave attendees unable to work as effectively as they might otherwise be able to.  Her assertion that powerpoint allows speakers with below average speechmaking ability to be more confident about their work is right on the money and is perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of reliance on the tool.