September 10, 2008

Experts don't always know best



On a recent episode of a reality show, the teams for a weekly challenge were set up with the services of PowerPoint designers to help them create a business proposal for prospective investors. The teams gave the designers all the information and the designers went off to create the visuals.

When they showed the presentations, I was disappointed to see the same poorly designed PowerPoint I see everywhere else:

** Generic background templates

** One-word titles

** Slides dense with bullets

** Few images, but when images were used, they were tiny and off in a corner

** Typos -- one example: "it's" instead of "its"

I will give credit to the teams; they made a good effort not to read directly from the slides.

Had the show participants, with no PowerPoint experience whatsoever, been the ones to design the visuals, I might understand why they were so bad. But these designers were introduced as "PowerPoint experts." It just reinforces for me why it's so difficult to get people to make the switch to image-based PowerPoint.

If we're shown "experts" creating ridiculously boring and ineffective PowerPoint, why should we take a risk and try something different?

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Nick R Thomas said...

Well, you must know the old joke definition:

'ex' - something that's a has-been

'spurt' - a drip under pressure.

Oh, hang on, Lisa, aren't we both experts?

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Oh yeah, but you and I ALWAYS know best.

Lanceman said...

Hi Lisa, I stumbled upon your blog through a comment at "Escape Adulthood" - and this comment, and where I came from just seem appropriate...

My kids (especially my 11 year old daughter) really like to mess around with Powerpoint. I didn't give them any instruction, they just ran with it. And what do they have when they're done - lots of pictures, big text, crazy transitions, lots of color. It speaks WOW! And, that's because they're kids, and kids like wow, not dull and boring. Why, as adults, do we think dull and boring is acceptable - when did we start to like dull and boring?? We do it because it's safe? I've done it because it's safe in the past. And safe is not fun. It's like we get a case of "adultitis" (thanks for the term Kim and Jason) when we do a presentation. I say, let's learn from the kids - be wild and audacious! And wow your audience!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

This is a beautiful analogy, Lance. Safe is NOT fun, that's for sure!

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