I attend a lot of presentations as a grad student. Some are good and some are not-so-good (but can usually still get their point across). However, on occasion, some presentations can border on horrendous. The horrendous ones usually suffer from a cumulative effect, where the presenter doesn’t have particularly strong public speaking skills to start off with, but also has managed to put together a set of powerpoint slides that actively hinder their presentation.
For instance, in an academic setting, sometimes you’ve inherited slides from your supervisor that may have been made with a late-1990s version of powerpoint (yes, really… I am serious). In that case, making any alterations to the slide is usually more work than starting from scratch. Having good public speaking skills can often save an awful powerpoint presentation, but what if you’re not comfortable in front of an audience? Having a clear presentation that can make your point for you in this case can be a live-saver.
Earlier this year, InFocus had a competition for the worst ever powerpoint slide. The winners are something to behold. I particularly like the one with the hotdog and the rabbit. However, I think I can do better. Here is my tongue-in-cheek entry for worst powerpoint slide:
*M.A.N.O.K., of course, stands for Mysterious Acronym that No One Knows. But you already knew that, which is why the presenter didn’t bother defining it.
Unfortunately, no matter how engaging a speaker you are and regardless of how beautiful and comprehensive your presentation is, if you dim all the lights so that I can apparently “see your presentation more easily”, I will fall asleep. Especially on a Monday morning, and especially when I haven’t had any coffee.