7 sins of the speaker (extended version)


This is a compilation post that brings together my views on closely related topics, collating articles that I published earlier on this blog. It doesn’t contain new content, although part of it may have been slightly reworked. Knowing that the whole is often greater than the sum of its parts, I hope this update provides you with a bigger picture, a more complete list of good practices, or a better grounded opinion.


“Don’ go burdenin’ other people with your sins. That ain’t decent.” – John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath

One of my favorite publications about presentation skills is Scott Berkun’s “Confessions of a Public Speaker.”  In his book, Scott tells about his life as a professional presenter and testifies about embarrassments and triumphs he has experienced when speaking to crowds of all sizes.

Over the past two decades I have crafted and delivered many public and private presentations. In this article, I’d like to share some best and worst practices with you. Below is my list of the seven cardinal sins that every presenter should try to avoid. I confess that I have repeatedly committed all of them. But no speaker is perfect. Let him or her who is without sin cast the first stone…

sinners_wanted

 1st sin: Too long

The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who is famous for delivering long-winded speeches, addressed the 1986 communist party congress in Havana for 7 hours and 10 minutes.

And still, El Comandante’s listenership may have called itself lucky, because PowerPoint was only launched officially in May 1990. By extrapolating the slideware generating habits of some of my colleagues at work, I estimate that El Caballo’s oration might have been good for, say, 750 slides. As some sources claim that you need at least one hour of preparation time for each minute of presentation (which IMHO sounds a bit overdone,) this would have taken El Jefe Maximo a mere 430 hours (or almost 54 working days) of crafting. Maybe in Cuba, time isn’t (or wasn’t) money at all?

Your audience may be spending valuable time and money to attend a presentation too. Don’t waste it. No single speech should take longer than necessary.

So, how long should the ideal slideshow take?

  • There’s actually a very simple prescription for that, formulated by author and Canva evangelist Guy Kawasaki who called it the “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint”, which says that a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty

And if the time slot that has been reserved for you happens to be longer or shorter than these mere 20 minutes, here’s another easy-to-use formula for calculating the number of visuals you can afford to put on:

  • Always begin by deducting 1/5th from your speaking time, and reserve it for interruptions, questions and answers. Then — assuming that the average presenter spends between 2 and 3 minutes per slide — divide the remaining minutes by 2 and by 3. The results of this simple calculation will give you an upper and lower limit for the number of visuals you can comfortably run through.

nbr_slides_calculator

2nd sin: Too much detail

Some time ago, I went shopping for a new wristwatch. Although I am working in the digital industry, for this kind of stuff I’m still pretty much into analog, and I don’t have the intention to buy a smartwatch anytime soon – at least not as long as the device’s battery life is comparable to my smartphone’s.

Trying to convince me about the superiority of his merchandise, the jeweler tried to explain me that the oscillator in a quartz clock functions as a small tuning fork, and is laser-trimmed to vibrate at 32,768 Hz. Huh?  Didn’t I enter his boutique for simply buying a new timepiece? Why did I need to know about all the internal mechanism of a watch? And was this guy really that smart that he knew all these nitty-gritty detail, or did he just try to impress, persuade or mislead me by dropping numbers and citing trivia?

Here’s some advice for the jeweler. As well as for every sales person, or anyone delivering a product presentation:

  • Not every person is interested in the nitty-gritty of your product. Keep your presentation short, sweet and to the point. Limit your content to the essential.
  • Even if you are the expert in the room, you don’t have to overload your audience with all your explicit knowledge. Don’t spread the jam by giving superfluous details!
  • Try to stay within your comfort zone. Don’t introduce topics that you hardly know anything about. If your public has a bad day, they might start asking you more difficult questions – for which you may not have a good answer ready.
  • Don’t present eeeverything you know about a single topic. As a rule of thumb, make sure that for every minute you talk, you have about three minutes of ‘backup material’ (more information, related topics, anecdotes, …) available.
  • Always be prepared for detailed questions and discussions. And if you don’t have the right answer on hand, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” or “let me look this up and get back to you.”
  • Know your audience. Be able to change your style, your presentation flow and your level of detail. With the right tone of voice and a good story, you will certainly convince them that you’re a person of interest, that you are an authority on the topic you present, and that you have the “right to speak” (or to sell quartz wristwatches).

3rd sin: No story

Recently, I attended a presentation given by a famous researcher. Although his research topic was very interesting and his slides were loaded with stunning facts and figures, I noticed many people in the auditorium playing with their phones and tablets. I’m also almost sure that many of them (including me) left the room with a “so what?” feeling.

As a computer scientist who started his career in R&I, I know that it’s not obvious for an engineer to present a complex research topic, and to cover the necessary technical details while keeping the undivided attention of an (often mixed) audience. This is why I have embraced (and started blogging about) the practice of storytelling.

Telling stories is a way to create a tension with the audience, get them engaged beyond the rational and make them connect emotionally and/or ethically. Stories produce mental images. They are a means to stimulate higher level thinking and let the audience come to a conclusion on their own. A good story enables individuals to make a leap in understanding complex products, services and solutions.

Already in the 4th century B.C., the Greek philosopher Aristotle formulated his theory on the three persuasive appeals: ethos, pathos and logos.

ethos_pathos_logos

Since then, Aristotle’s rhetoric has become one of the foundations of public speaking and, as such, an equilibrated mix of the 3 ingredients should be considered a prerequisite for any well told story.

  • Ethos means ethical appeal. We tend to believe people whom we respect. We trust in products with a good reputation. We go to places that were recommended on Yelp or Tripadvisor
  • Pathos translates to emotion. We all like stories about the good vs. the bad. We prefer presenters that speak passionate about their topic. We (too) often make decisions motivated by love, admiration, fear or disgust.
  • Logos stands for reasoning and argumentation. We believe in what we can see and what we can touch. We want statements supported by facts and figures. If not, we keep asking for the Why, the What and the How.

If you think about it, ethos, pathos and logos are present in almost every area of our daily lives. And more than we realize, they determine how we (and our audience) experience situations, interact with people and make decisions. And, as for so many other things in life, the whole of Aristotle’s rhetoric is greater than the sum of its three parts: it’s neither about ethos OR pathos OR logos, but all about ethos AND pathos AND logos.

4th sin: No call to action

In web design, a banner, button, graphic or text often prompts a user to enter a conversion funnel. By clicking on it, he/she confirms his/her interest in the content and (on an e-commerce site) may enter into a next step towards buying a product or service.

As the primary purpose of most business presentations is to move the audience to action, you should make sure that you have similar mechanisms included in your talk.

So, never end your presentation with just a “thank you for your attention” or a Looney Tunes inspired “that’s all folks!” Dismiss all these men and women with clear directions. Tell them what you want them to remember, what they need to do, and how they can get there.

  • Leave ample time for questions. As a rule of thumb you should reserve around 20% of your time budget for Q&A and discussion. Make sure you are prepared for provocative or even weird questions from the room, and remember that a poor Q&A at the end may ruin the whole of your performance.
  • Summarize your main ideas and key points. Make sure you end in agreement with (the majority of) the audience and that they are ready for taking a next step with you.
  • Invite your listeners to engage in a next step. Always end your speech with a call to action or a call to application. Give them a bit of homework (like visiting your webpage, or reading a handout), make them agree on having a follow-up meeting (don’t forget to supply them with your contact details), or simply encourage them to use the products or apply the material you presented (such as the tips I am sharing in this post.)
  • Finish your presentation in a memorable way. Take the occasion to leave a final impression on your audience. Don’t stop cold, but try to surprise them one last time before you quit the stage.

5th sin: Unclear message

Even worse than a bad closing is when you let your audience go home with a “what has this guy been talking about for more than an hour” feeling.

The way you present may either help or hurt to make your point. Make your message(s) strong and memorable, and deliver it (them) in a catchy and captivating way.

In his MacWorld 2008 keynote, the late Steve Jobs presented the world’s thinnest notebook, the MacBook Air.  The Apple CEO introduced the new product with a photo of an envelope, told the audience that the new device was “so thin that it even fits inside one of those envelopes you see floating around the office,” and then pulled up and opened a real envelope that contained the new, ultra-thin laptop computer (watch the video on YouTube.) Sometimes there’s a thin line between a good and a great presenter. Steve Jobs has always been on the right side of it.

Finding the right pitch for your presentation often boils down to pinpointing a sticky story to tell. With the right mix of ethos, pathos and logos you can appeal to the hearts and the minds of those listening to you.

  • A good story has to be compelling, credible, concrete, clear, consistent, customized and conversational. If you remember these seven C-words, you’re already one step closer to a great pitch.
  • When defining your value proposition, never forget that value is in the perception of the beholder. Adapt your pitch to address the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) concern(s) of your audience. And give them something in return for listening to you.
  • Building a message house is a great and simple means for defining, simplifying and structuring your messages, and to make sure your audience will remember them. When properly constructed, it is almost straightforward to transform this message house into a skeleton for your presentation.

message_house

  • A good way to validate your pitch is putting it to the elevator test. Can you ‘sell’ your message(s) in 30 seconds? Can you summarize your story on the back of a napkin? Can it be understood by your mother in law?
  • Finally, as shown in the MacBook Air example above, a strong opening can make a real difference. Most people decide within the first few seconds of a presentation whether a speaker is worth listening to. So make sure to grab the audience’s attention by surprising, intriguing, or provoking them.

6th sin: Boring slides

It’s tempting to rely upon material that others have created before you. Nothing as easy as making a slide deck by cutting and pasting slides from existing PowerPoint into yours. But there’s a consequence: 99% of these cut‘n’paste slideshows look like chameleons, that change colors, fonts and layout with every slide transition.

Look and feel do matter! If you want your audience to perceive you as a professional, then never compromise on the layout of your slides!

  • Real estate: Don’t overdo. Beware of creating slideuments. Apply the same template to all slides. Use plenty of white space. Limit the amount of bulleted slides as well as bullets per page.
  • Colors should contrast with the background. Don’t put together too many colors on one screen. Avoid using red text on a white or black background.
  • Fonts must be readable from the back of the room. Be consistent in style throughout the whole deck. Don’t mix too many typefaces. Avoid script fonts. Bold and italic are good to emphasize text, underline isn’t.
  • Images: use visuals that complement or accentuate your message instead of standard clipart or crapart, that adds no extra value (we all hate screen beans or know the man climbing a bar chart, don’t we?) Avoid mixing line art and photos.
  • Vocabulary: Consequently use the same terminology everywhere. Beware of acronyms and abbreviations. Don’t use jargon or slang.

So next time you need to build a business presentation, don’t feed the chameleons! Start well in advance and take your time to tune each slide. Don’t take existing material for granted. Be creative. Be consistent. Be professional.

7th sin: Wrong pitch

Even the most beautiful slides may be irrelevant to your listeners. It’s extremely important that you have a good understanding of who will be in the room. Doing some upfront research will certainly help you to tailor your pitch and (later) customize your presentation to your audience’s specific knowledge, beliefs, feelings, needs and expectations – and establish an emotional connection with them.

  • Make yourself familiar with Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion: reciprocity, liking, authority, social proof, commitment, and scarcity. These will help you to appear convincing, credible and trusty in front of your listeners.
  • Creating personas and asking questions about them like: “What is their role in the organization?”, “What does an average day in their job/life look like?”, “What do they value most?”, “How do they get motivated?”, and “What could be their most common objections to your product or service?” may be good means for tuning your content

(this compilation post has been published earlier on Business2CommunityLinkedIn and Ragan.com, and a video recording of me presenting the 7 Sins is available on Campus in the Cloud)

I have also created an infographic that summarizes this post. You may download the file by clicking on the image below (or hitting the download tab on top of this page).

the-7-sins-infographic-l1

Don’t leave home without a clicker

When I go on a business trip, I always carry one on me. It doesn’t occupy much space in my suitcase, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.  That’s why I never leave home without my clicker!

When giving a business presentation, a handheld remote slide advancer gives you to the freedom to walk around on stage. It provides you full control over your own slide show. That’s particularly useful when your visuals contain overlay animations. And you’ll never have to say “next slide please…” again.

Actually, the one that I use is not very high-tech. It has got only two buttons: one to move forward and one to return to previous slide. I don’t need  more ‒ and it keeps the risk of clicking the wrong knob to an absolute minimum. I also never use the laser pointer function, as I have seen its dancing red (or green) spot on the screen too often betray a nervous speaker.

clicker

Also a wearable wireless microphone may offer extra degrees of freedom to a presenter. I was recently speaking at an event, and surprisingly the only one out of 25+ speakers who requested for and put on such a device.

Unfortunately it is not always obvious to bring your own headset or clip-on mike and connect it to a venue’s audio installation. That’s the main reason why I haven’t included one in my speaker packing list yet.

Please don’t be long, please don’t you be very long

The former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, who is famous for delivering long-winded speeches, once addressed the 1986 communist party congress in Havana for 7 hours and 10 minutes.

fidel_castro Photo (CC) BY-SA 2.0 by Marcelo Montecino

And still, El Comandante’s listenership may have called itself lucky, because PowerPoint was only launched officially in May 1990. By extrapolating the slideware generating habits of some of my colleagues at work, I estimate that El Caballo’s oration might have been good for, say, 750 slides. As some sources claim that you need at least one hour of preparation time for each minute of presentation (which IMHO sounds a bit overdone,) this would have taken El Jefe Maximo a mere 430 hours (or almost 54 working days) of crafting. Maybe in Cuba, time isn’t (or wasn’t) money at all?

Your audience may be spending valuable time and money to attend a presentation too. Don’t waste it. No single presentation should take longer than necessary.

So, how long should the ideal slideshow take? There’s actually a very simple prescription for that, formulated by author and Canva evangelist Guy Kawasaki (about whom I have already written in my “Four storytellers about storytelling” post,) who called it the “The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint”:

A PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.

And if the time slot that has been reserved for you happens to be longer or shorter than these 20 minutes, here’s another easy-to-use formula for calculating the number of visuals you can afford:

nbr_slides_calculator

Always begin by deducting 1/5th from your speaking time, and reserve it for questions and answers. Then — assuming that the average presenter spends between 2 and 3 minutes per slide — divide the remaining minutes by 2 and by 3. The results of this simple calculation will give you an upper and lower limit for the number of visuals you can comfortably run through.

More reading:

The joy of presenting naked

In my previous post, I wrote about a situation in which I was confronted with a broken projector, and as such (almost) forced to present “nakedly”. For those who might get wrong thoughts: naked presenting is delivering a presentation without slides (and without hesitation.)

It’s nothing new. The art of storytelling dates from long before PowerPoint and the projector were ever invented. But nowadays, too manypresenters hide themselves behind their slide deck. Although some of the best public speakers I know don’t need (and a few of them don’t use) any visuals to deliver an outstanding talk.

bare_feet

Naked presenting lets you concentrate on your audience and on your message instead of on your Powerpoint-style presentation tools (see also my reasons for not using Prezi.)

For a naked presenter, less is more!

  • When you need to invest less time in graphic material preparation, you can spend more time on building your story, and practicing and rehearsing it.
  • When you’re relying less upon the laptop in front, you have more space to move around the stage and face the people in the back of the room.
  • When you count less on the sexiness of your slides, you may discover the expressive power of your voice and body language.
  • When you give them no slides to read from, people will more attentively listen to your words.
  • When you put less energy in trying to impress your audience (don’t confuse a naked presenter with an exhibitionist!,) you will probably establish a better emotional contact with them.

If –after all these convincing arguments– you’re still too shy to go full monty in front of your customers, you can leave your hat on... and use a flip chart and a few markers to cover your nakedness.

A final note for those in the audience: things may not always be what they seem. It’s a known fact that even Barack Obama uses a teleprompter on the sly.

If you have some spare time, read the revealing Presentation Zen post about presenting naked by Garr Reynolds, as well as these other articles:

Replace the lamp

It happens so now and then that, just when you want to start your presentation, a message shows up on the screen behind you that urges you to replace the projector lamp… Luckily for me, the last time this happened, there was an A/V technician around who fixed the problem in a matter of minutes, and I could deliver my talk as planned.

replace_lamp

This incident, however, made me reflect about why we –business presenters and public speakers– are actually so addicted to slideware, and why some of us seem to be completely helpless without Powerpoint, Keynote or Prezi.

  • Surely we’re all part of a visual culture. In our daily lives we are bombarded with a plethora of (static and moving) images offered by billboards, magazines, TV, social media and web pages that “help” us better ingest, digest, and retain information. Illustrations can make things more clear, more visible or more manifest. Children’s books are often illustrated with colorful pictures. The illustrations are as much a part of the experience with the content as the written text.
  • Some speakers (including me) are picture thinkers. I design my presentations on the back of a napkin and, most of the time, I have a graphical representation in mind even before I know the exact words of what I am going to tell. If you’re in the same situation, then make sure that what you show is complementary to what you say.
  • Other presenters use slides because they have a bad memory –at least that’s the excuse they come up with for not spending enough time on preparation and rehearsal– or want to add a level of detail to their story that is too complex for oral transmission. Data visualizations and infographics are good examples of how pictures may add value to words. But always beware of texty slides and bulleted lists!

Next time I enter the stage, I might just ignore the projector (even when the lamp is not broken) and start presenting “naked”…  Stay tuned for a testimonial about the joy of naked presenting in a next blog post!

More reading about visual thinking and slide design:

Look ‘n’ feel matter – multimedia

I still remember delivering my first public presentation using a stack of hand-drawn plastic foils and a 10 kilo heavy overhead projector I carried with me. Times have changed, and in the age of the digital, presenters can now apply, mix and match many different media, platforms and formats to enrich their presentations and bring their stories to life. Delivering a narrative across multiple media and multiple platforms is often called “transmedia storytelling”.

Here are a few practical tips on when and how to incorporate animation, video and live demos into your presentation:

  • First of all, use animation scarcely and wisely. Don’t over-animate slide transitions and object builds. There’s nothing more annoying and distracting for your audience than seeing titles, bullet lists and images tumble and fly across the big screen in the front. For the same reason also don’t use PowerPoint sound effects – I have seldom heard any stock sound that added value to the content of a presentation.
  • Switching between different media, not excluding the (often overlooked) analog ones such as white board or flip-chart drawing, are a common means to extend or reset your audience’s attention span.
  • Video clips and audio bites are ideal tools for enriching examples, use cases and testimonials. Always make sure that all files are timely uploaded on the presentation PC and properly linked into the slide show. As an alternative (or a back-up if you like) you can also post the movies on YouTube.
  • Corporate videos are often dull and unimaginative. In case you have a budget for producing your own movies: spend your money well. Work with creative professionals, and exploit video as a complementary channel for delivering your key messages and an alternative medium for telling your story.
  • When including live demonstrations, always keep them short and simple. Prepare a detailed demo script well upfront and freeze it. Show only the “sexy” features that really matter to the audience (and match with the rest of your talk). And never, never show an untested function.
  • As both Murphy and the Demo Devil may be just around the corner, don’t forget to make arrangements with the conference organizers (or the people hosting your speech) to have all A/V equipment installed and tested –with your presentation material and demo scripts running on it– before you start talking.

multimedia

Next week, I will talk about creating templates and  backgrounds for your presentations.

Other articles about this topic that are worth reading:

Look ‘n’ feel matter – bulleted lists

I have only one important thing to tell about bullets: they are dangerous! So, use them scarcely and with caution. If you eventually shoot one into your own foot, you will be the only one to blame.

Although bulleted lists are probably the #1 layout component that people associate with PowerPoint presentations, they can make your sheets dull, boring and ineffective. As your brain interprets every letter as a picture, wordy lists literally choke it. As a consequence, people tend to forget what you have spelled out. Your visuals should only contain your key message(s). Keep the full text details for the handout. Make people listen to the words you say instead of read the characters on your slides.

If you want to use bullets anyway, make sure that each slide contains only 1 message (read my “Master of the house” post on how build a message house). Explain it in maximally 5 lines of no more than 7 words each. Highlight a few key words to help your audience focus. Avoid complex, multi-level lists and nested bullets. Each statement should start with a capital letter. Never use fly-in and fly-out animation effects.

bullets

As an alternative, try to convert your bullet list into a series of visuals – one slide per bullet point. Although this approach will make your PowerPoint look longer, you actually won’t spend more time presenting it. After you have iterated all key messages, you may still consider showing the (original or shortened) bulleted list on a summary slide.

Next week, I will talk about using video and multimedia in your presentations.

Other articles about this topic that are worth reading:

Look ‘n’ feel matter – images

There’s this old wisdom that says “a picture tells more than a thousand words”, but incidentally some images in PowerPoint presentations tell nothing at all. They’re just there because they’re pictures. They don’t add anything to the content, and they also don’t add anything to the aesthetics of the visual — sometimes they even do the opposite, and just make the slide look ugly.

In the previous posts of this “look ‘n’ feel matter” series I have touched upon fonts and color. Today I am giving a few practical tips to get more out of the clip art and photos you add to your presentation:

  • First of all, it’s a mistake thinking that all images have to be functional elements, such as data charts, product pictures or organograms. There’s nothing wrong with adding some eye candy to your slides, and appeal to your audience’s emotion.
  • Of course, you’d better pick some images that are related to the topic you’re presenting about and that enhance or clarify the content. It’s a bit awkward to show a beautiful photo of a sunset on a tropical island, when you’re presenting your company’s air suspension compressors portfolio.
  • In any case, avoid using standard clip art that comes with your presentation software. Most of the people in the room will get a déjà vu feeling when you show them a man climbing a bar chart, a colorful dollar sign, or yet another one of Microsoft’s stale screen beans. There are ample places on the internet where you can buy or borrow high quality and original images.
  • When your picture is too big, scale it down or crop it to fit (and compress it afterwards – if you don’t want the size of your file to grow explosively.) But when it’s too small, don’t try to enlarge it! You will blow up the pixels and end up with something blurry and unprofessional (tip: you may always try to use a reverse image search tool like TinEye or src-img to find a similar bitmap with a better resolution.) If you don’t want to change an object’s dimensions, keep the shift key down while resizing it. Otherwise, you may end up with some unwanted results. Just have a look at the picture below, and guess the real Elvis duck…

elvis_duck

  • And, finally: don’t feed the chameleons! Try to be consistent in style and colors. Avoid mixing photos and line art (of course you may insert charts and diagrams whenever they’re needed.) Though black-and-white photographs and color highlights make a great combination.

A few words about copyrighted material: always make sure that you have permission to use the images. Looking for media made available under a Creative Commons license is probably the most safe and legal way to go. When searching on Google, you may set a filter on usage rights in the Image Advanced Search function.

Next week, I will talk about using bulleted lists in your presentations.

Other articles about this topic that are worth reading:

To Prezi or not to Prezi

Lately I have seen a few talks that were authored and presented with Prezi. Though the software has a nice set of features and the guys who created and delivered the presentations did a great job, I am not a big fan of it and I largely share what Scott Berkun’s writes in his ”why I hate Prezi” blog post.

presi_menu

Prezi may be good as a mind mapping tool, but most presentations tend to be overdone as they are trying to maximize the application’s complex structuring, navigation and visualization capabilities. Since I need to focus on delivering my message rather than maneuvering through my visuals –while keeping a mental map of where I am in the 2D or 3D space– I only want to deal with the next slide button on my remote clicker (of course I could create a “linear” storyline using the built-in path tool, but then I might revert as well to Powerpoint.) Furthermore, and as a consequence of these complex zooming and panning actions, a well brought Prezi presentation needs even more rehearsal than the average speaking engagement.

This is why I am not using Prezi and why, until further notice, I’m gonna stick to (good and bad) old Powerpoint. I acknowledge this is a personal opinion and that there are many enthusiastic (and more experienced) Prezi users around. So, if you consider yourself one of them, feel free to comment on this post and tell me why I should start loving Prezi.

Other articles to fuel the discussion about the pros and cons of using Prezi:

Cut the crap

This morning I had one in my inbox again. One of those emails with at subject line starting with FW: FW: FW: and with a huge PPS or PPSX file attached. It even passed the virus scan.

As a professional presenter, I used to believe that there is nothing more evil than misusing Microsoft PowerPoint, and that I had seen all possible materializations of bad taste and poor design. But believe me, this canned PowerPoint Show was a scholarly example of everything a good presentation should not have and should not be.

My first reproach is that “delivering” a presentation through email is intrusive. I didn’t ask for this crap. Since the PPS file was blindly forwarded to (what seemed to me like) the sender’s complete address book, its content could impossibly match my interests and needs.

So, as you may guess, the slide show I opened was indeed completely irrelevant to me. There was hardly any structure, and the one-liner statements and the ripped-off-the-web images were extremely corny. OK, I may be a strong advocate of putting pathos in a story, but there should be at least a bit of ethos and logos in it as well.

corny_image

And finally, poor design, appalling graphics and improper use of animation and sound made the whole presentation untasteful too. Its layout violated almost every single rule I listed in my don’t feed the chameleons post.

You may call me an angry not-so-young-anymore man, but here’s a plea to (fortunately only a small minority of) my dear email contacts: stop wasting your time, my mailbox space and the internet’s bandwidth. And if you still think your oeuvres are a contribution to arts, society or culture, then please upload your PPS files onto Facebook, SlideShare or any other opt-in content sharing site. Email and PowerPoint are already bad enough on their own, so don’t make it even worse.