Few things make us question our career choices like a really painful PowerPoint presentation. You know the feeling: at first you attempt earnestly to pay attention. Then you start to drift off. Snapping back to reality, you begin to get angry that you’re being forced to endure this experience. You may feel a pang of sympathy for the presenter who clearly isn’t enjoying this experience either. Then you realize you’ve missed most of the content, and that you may actually need it later for something you’re working on. The anger returns, but stronger this time. Eventually, you slip into a state of numb hopelessness, realizing this is just “how things are.”
Can I get an Amen?
Well, I have some good news. Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have been telling stories. It’s one of the most endearing attributes of humanity, and, in my opinion, is almost as important as breathing (ok, maybe not quite, but you get my point). Ultimately, we are ALL capable of telling a good story. While I agree, some people are just born with that wonderful magnetism that can win an election or start a cult, (Ahem, Christopher Locchead). But most of the time, people just need to be taught the basics of visual storytelling, and need to be given permission – official permission – to think differently about working in PowerPoint.
I strongly recommend that companies consider weaving PowerPoint training into their new employee on-boarding process, or at minimum, offer quarterly “brown bag” lunch workshops. Your employees will thank you, and so will your customers/partners/prospects. Because let’s face it: if someone can’t maintain the attention of a captive internal audience, there’s no way they’ll captivate a customer or prospect.