Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Who Knew That Making A Point Would Take So Much Power?

I have discovered that this week is ‘Just Say No To PowerPoint Week,’ although I have yet to see Nancy Reagan. Get it? Just Say No? Nancy Reagan? Oh never mind. As a cubicle dwelling, fluorescent-lit keyboard jockey, this holiday touches a nerve with me. And I’m talking about that kind of nerve where the dentist thinks your mouth is numb but then he scrapes at your gum line only to realize that the local anesthesia hasn’t arrived at its destination yet. Or maybe that type of nerve touching where you watch a video of the guy falling downward onto a pole between his legs. It’s funny, so you laugh while crossing your legs to help numb the pain that the guy on video you have never met is feeling.

Like me, I’m sure that many of you are used to the horrible, coma inducing corporate, executive designed PowerPoint presentation. While being subjected to many of those presentations, I gave it some long and hard (that’s what she said) thought and have decided that I would rather be stranded in the desert with Rachael Ray while she is on speed. That’s because she would talk even more than normal and that would be irritating and I would be stranded in the desert with her with nothing else to do bit listen. I think I’m going to stop explaining my jokes. I blame being sick for that. Sorry.

Seriously, I have been subjected to PowerPoint presentations that have made me want to jab hot cheese-laden fondue forks into my ears, twist them and then push them in harder, pull them out and repeat. I think I may actually feel sorrier for the designers of these presentations than those who have been subjected to them. Do they seriously think that they are creating something of interest or something that will convey important corporate info while maintaining our attention at the same time? Are they proud of the anesthesia-like reaction that they cause?

Now if I had to create an overly corporate-themed PowerPoint, I would try to throw in a few semi-subliminal (wow, that’s fun to say) things to at least try to entertain the troops. I’d use little sound effects, quick slides containing pics of cartoon characters or perhaps slides upside down or maybe even vacation photos. Now I realize that it may not look professional, but then who ever said I was a professional. Besides, it would make those that know and work with me laugh a little during the presentation. Or maybe they’d shake their heads. But I guarantee you one thing: it would keep their attention.

There are so many ways that we could make an effective yet entertaining PowerPoint presentation. For instance, if you absolutely HAD to have a pie chart, why not overlay it onto a real picture of, oh, let’s say my favorite pie, Key Lime Pie. And I’d make sure that all of my math was incorrect, though that’s more of a retaliation thing…Perhaps every slide should have its info displayed over a faded out image of some real miscellaneous 1950s-era picture. And what PP presentation wouldn’t be drastically improved by containing sound bites from The Office? In fact, I would search far and wide for a quote from a female executive or female expert on whatever field the presentation was about, just so I could work in an audio ‘that’s what she said.’ I’m sure that plenty of Star Wars clips and references would be well received too. And then there’s always little puppies and kittens because who doesn’t love cuddly puppies and kittens? Unless the audience is predominantly male. And we all know what would appeal to them. Yep, pics of slabs of grilled beef. What did you think I meant? Well, the whole bikini angle did occur to me, but then giving the good folks in HR samples of a PowerPoint presentation I designed with models in bikinis in it is kind of like writing my own corporate obituary. Of course you could make the argument that this blog solidified my corporate death at least a year ago.

If I were a manager, which of course is in no real danger of ever happening, not that I need to PowerPoint that out (ha, get it??), I would include little hidden images of PacMan or the Smurfs or Charlie Brown or perhaps M&Ms or maybe even little cans of Spam and then reward my employees if they correctly counted the number that they saw; thereby promoting employee participation in said presentation.

Perhaps I could lobby for a new position with my employer that would allow me to give PowerPoint Presentations on how to effectively construct informative and engaging PowerPoint Presentations. Maybe I’d find a way to make every slide slightly out of focus as it is projected onto the wall or screen. I’ve never seen research conducted about this but you’d have to figure that having a room full of people straining to figure out what is on the screen in front of them is bound to make them pay more attention and better retain what they are reading. I am also really, really fighting the urge to suggest using the song ‘Convoy’ as background music, though I have yet to figure out why all those truckers got in trouble with all those ‘bears’ in the first place.

Breaker, breaker. 10-4. I’m over and out. Crap, that part there didn’t sound too much like something Ryan Seacrest would say, did it? Now I’d better go construct a PowerPoint presentation explaining all the ways that I think Ryan Seacrest is the male Rachael Ray so that no one can accuse me of being a fan of his because I accidentally let my parting sentence contain the word ‘out.’


AndreAnna said...

Death to PowerPoint!

AndreAnna out.

Sunshine said...

Sorry I can't stop crying over the Office photo you used, I miss The Office. boo hoo.

So, anyway, I didn't hear a word you said over my sobbing.

Sizzle said...

i really miss The Office. sigh.

i've never had to put a power point together myself. i've written them but not done the tech end of it.

and yes, they are usually SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO boring.

Subliminal CDs said...

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meleah rebeccah said...


There are so many GREAT lines and turns of phrase in this post, I am DYING laughing. Id haver to copy paste the whole entry.

Way to work TWSS!! Rachel Ray on speed is a scary thought, however hot cheese fondue sticks twisting in your ears...hilarious.

I HATE PowerPoint and I hate being a fluorescent-lit keyboard jockey, but at LEAST you made it funny.

My god!

"You....You... Your good...."

(said in my best DeNiro voice from Analyze this)

Patti said...

This was a Powerful post, Michael, if you get the Point.
You Presented your thoughts well.

Natalie said...

Huh, I just finished making a PowerPoint.

notfearingchange said...

i hate power point....

OMYWORD! said...

Oh my-oh my-oh keylimepie-oh. I laughed and laughed. WHY didn't I think of these things when I was designing my own presentations as a slave in corporate America? It would have given me endless hours of pleasure.

I have an American friend here in Paris who asked me if I wanted to help her help French doctors create their PPT presentations for their conferences, etc. hmmmmm. I see a future in such tomfoolery. I may call you in as a consultant.