Happy Birthday PowerPoint – 25 years young

Actually, I missed the official PowerPoint birthday by a few days.  PowerPoint came into our business lives on August 14th 1984 and I think it is fair to say it has had a significant role to play in office meetings, conferences, proposals etc. since it became an application at the core of Microsoft Office.

Should you think this is no big deal, these statistics about PowerPoint might change your mind:

·        Organisations globally make 30 million PowerPoint presentations every working day

·        The average PowerPoint session runs for 250 minutes from start-up to shutdown (I do not think this means that every PowerPoint presentation actually lasts 4 hours and 10 minutes!)

·        The average PowerPoint slide shows 40 words

Yes, we have all experienced the ailment known as ‘death by PowerPoint’ and such classic PowerPoint epithets as ‘you won’t be able to read this at the back’ and ‘the colour contrast looks better on my monitor’. 

My personal experience of the best use of PowerPoint in a business context is by a colleague who was on vacation when due to present at a customer event.  He took the time to pre-record his PowerPoint presentation with voice-over and appropriate backing sounds of waves lapping on the shore, seagulls squawking overhead and drinks being ordered at the bar. He got the highest score of any presenter on the day – it was informative, entertaining and short!

PowerPoint has also featured in stand-up comic routines … or maybe it is a formal training course on how (not) to use PowerPoint. Judge for yourself here.

What are your highlights and lowlights with PowerPoint presentations?  Why not share your experience with fellow readers?


Posted by Ian

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