Working for a government agency, and just living on planet Earth, I have suffered through PowerPoint presentations that could be listed as war crimes. Here are some tips on how to use PowerPoint in ways that don’t violate the Geneva Convention.
- Don’t go over time. There’s nothing worse than to hear a long-winded speaker say, “I know my time is up, but I have a few more points to address.” Stop it. For God’s sake, stop talking.
- Small wording. Unless you’re presenting at the Perfect Vision seminar, don’t use weird or super-small fonts. This only teaches people how to squint, get headaches and hate you.
(The text is too small and it’s about math. That’s what you call a double negative.)
- Don’t over-complicate the info. Indecipherable charts, unrelated clip art and graph after graph after graph after graph. These techniques absolutely destroy someone’s will to live. Add in extra-twirly transactions and explosive slide changes, and you might as well be inserting bamboo under the listeners’ fingernails.
- Don’t speak low and slow. As your voice ticks like a slow metronome, heavy and hypnotic, you realize your audience is gently snoring, dreaming of a PowerPoint free world.
- Don’t read the slides. For the love of all that’s good! Don’t read the damn slides! Even if it’s just bullet points–don’t read verbatim. Everyone in the room can read. Even that coworker you’re convinced is half Hobbit can read.
(If annihilating your workplace was your goal: Mission accomplished.)
Go forth and make this world a better place.
You might be a perfectly calm, organized human being on the weekend. You manage to find time to eat, shop, play, rest, watch TV, walk the dog, bake cookies, wander aimlessly, do yard work, hit the gym, meditate and read a favorite book.
But on Monday morning, you suddenly find you can’t function. You can’t eat breakfast, shower, match your shoes or leave the house without yelling at various spouses, children or pets. You lose track of keys, wallets, work assignments and phones.
If just the idea of going to work sends you into a whirling frenzy, you might have Aggressive Work Denial Disorder (AWDD). Studies have shown that AWDD symptoms are heightened on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, but tend to dissipate for the next two days until by Friday afternoon you’re almost a functioning adult again.
To find out if you suffer from AWDD, answer the following questions:
- It’s Sunday afternoon. You a) have strong feelings of nausea, b) cry for no reason, c) reevaluate all your life choices, d) look for jobs on Craigslist or e) all of the above.
- You (barely) get to work on time only to realize you have a meeting in 10 minutes that you’re not prepared for. You a) hide in the bathroom until the meeting is over, b) growl at your co-worker, using a variety of swear words, c) attend the meeting but make sure the other attendees know you’re not happy.
- It’s almost lunchtime when you remember you left your lunchbox on the kitchen counter at home. You a) steal someone’s lunch from the fridge in the break room, b) decide this is a great time to start your weight loss program, but by 3 p.m. you’re so hungry you eat two Snickers bars, five handfuls of Hot Tamales and four bags of snack-size Cheetos or c) whine about how hungry you are until someone buys you a sandwich.
- You’re in meeting that you feel is unnecessary or redundant. Instead of participating, you a) play Candy Crush, b) sigh a lot or c) work on a blog for Tuesday.
- The project you’re working on is taking twice as long as expected. You a) do a half-assed job to finish it and get it out of the way, b) finish the project, but take three sick days to recover or c) swear you gave it to someone else to complete.
- When it comes to time management, you a) create to-do lists, b) just assume you’re remembering everything, or c) what’s time management?
- Your level of anger at work ranges from a) grumpy to pissed-off, b) furious to mildly homicidal or c) to raging lunatic to DEFCON 5.
If you answered any of these questions at work, you are definitely an AWDD sufferer because, shouldn’t you be working? I’m creating an AWDD support group that meets anywhere but work on Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.