The assignment has three (3) questions. Each question may be answered in approximately 100 to 150 words. Support your answers with appropriate examples, wherever possible. Quality of your answers is of critical importance, not the number of words used. Answers MUST be in your own words. You must understand that plagiarism is an offence and will be seriously dealt with as per college policies and may result in a failing grade. Make sure you write your name, student number, Professor’s name, course code and name, title and date on the cover page. Introduction We have all been there, done that: 10 minutes, 20 PowerPoint slides. Whether you have been the harried presenter racing through the slides or the hapless listener choosing between reading the slides or listening to the talk, it’s miserable. In all, 350 PowerPoint presentations are given per second worldwide, and the program commands 95 percent of the presentation software market. Why do we do this to ourselves? The short answer seems to be because we know how, or at least we think we do. Joel Ingersoll of Lorton Data, a Minneapolis database company, said, “You say to yourself, ‘I’ll start vomiting information I found on my hard drive until I hit, oh, about 20 slides, and then I’ll wing the talking-to-people part.’” Bombarding audiences with stark phrases is only one possible pitfall, says Rick Altman, author of Why Most PowerPoint Presentations Suck. Another is to overdesign your presentation. Most of us spend 36 percent of our prep time on design, according to a study, yet we fail to remember that “less is more.” The poor choices that sometimes result (such as using cartoonish typefaces for a serious presentation) can undermine your intended message. Altman cautions against using layer after layer of bullet points to write out what you should say instead, and he recommends making sparing use of holograms, 3D, and live Twitter feeds that only detract from your message. Successful talks are about a story and an interaction. “Even if you’re a middle manager delivering financials to your department in slides, you’re telling a story. A manager is constantly trying to persuade,” says Nancy Duarte, owner of a presentation design company. Equally important is the audience. “Everyone is sick of the one-way diatribe,” Duarte notes, and Altman recommends engaging people animatedly “as if they’re in preschool waiting to get picked up by their parents.” According to Keith Yamashita, founder of SYPartners communications, this may mean ditching PowerPoint altogether. “There are endless techniques that are more appropriate than PowerPoint,” he contends. Like what? Experts suggest fewer visual aids and more live interaction with the audience. High tech does not guarantee better storytelling. “Pin up butcher paper on the walls, draw a map of your thinking, and hand that out,” Yamashita says, or use a white board. The results can amaze you. When sales engineer Jason Jones had trouble launching his two-hour slide presentation to a dozen clients, buddy Dave Eagle stepped in. “All right, I got two presentations for y’all,” Eagle told the clients. He said one presentation was with slides, and the other just spoken. The clients chose the later, and Jones and Eagle won the account.
1. What are some of the ways people misuse PowerPoint? What are the potential consequences? (5 marks)
2. In what presentations of yours have you found PowerPoint most effective in communicating your message? In what presentations did PowerPoint hinder your successful communication? (5 marks)
3. List the pros and cons you see for managers who avoid PowerPoint as a mode of communication. (5 marks)