Ask Marvin

I hate PowerPoint with a passion. What can I do?

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I hate Powerpoint, partly because I am rubbish at it. My slides always have clashing colours or boxes that don’t align. They look like a ten year old has done them compared to other people’s fancy animations and graphics. Is there anything else I can use to make myself look more professional?

Marvin’s answer:

Unfortunately in today’s workplace, if you don’t use PowerPoint you’ll be seen as a freak. If you say you hate PowerPoint you might get some sympathisers, but they’re the ones who will be beavering away on something in the background. Although some companies are now trying different media, PowerPoint artistry is what drives businesses forward and people’s careers upwards.

Slides that look like their ten year old has done them will always compare unfavourably with the slick, colour coordinated ones of a real PowerPoint artist and your career will suffer as a result. Never mind the content, never mind the thinking that may of gone into them, the poring over the wording to get it absolutely right. In today’s world it doesn’t matter. It’s all about the look and feel.

You may hate PowerPoint but boring or poor PowerPoint slides can be career limiting
Boring slides can be career limiting

My suggestion is to get skilled in smart art, themes and in taking other people’s slides and templates and re-hashing them with your own words. Just be careful when you’re presenting to say “I might have borrowed this..” as there’s bound to be a smart-arse artist in the room who will shout “That’s my slide!” if you don’t.

Go quantity mad but don’t show them all. Having lots of slides suggests hours at the PC, slaving on behalf of your business.

Hate Powerpoint? You could try a video.

However, if you want to grab attention think of making a video instead. Just don’t get it confused with any ‘personal’ use ones from your phone. Or is that just me?

There are a couple of dangers when thinking of making your own personal video. These include:

  • What you think is funny might not be everyone else’s cup of tea.
  • Be prepared for your video to turn up on social media. Don’t be too strange or off the wall. It might harm any job prospects you were trying to cultivate.
  • Making it too long. Remember Lord of the Rings? It was a great film but spoilt by its length. Play to the (short) attention span of your audience
  • Add music. Music is proven to influence people’s thinking. Choose the entry and exit song with care. It could make all the difference.

So in conclusion, you hate Powerpoint because your’re rubbish at it. Therefore think of alternative communication means like videos or find a friend to help. Remember, making rubbish slides is not good for your career.

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