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Tuesday, May. 15, 2007 at 9:34 am

Please, Sir, May I Have My Hour Back?

By Jeffrey Eisenberg
May 15th, 2007

Anyone? Anyone?Presentation Zen’s post “Two Questions: Why does it matter? What’s your contribution?” is another must read. I love this blog!

Coffee flew out my nose as I read this:

Recently I attended such an event, and after the hour talk was over I realized that the presentation was a miracle of sorts: Until that day I didn’t think it was possible to actually listen to someone make a PowerPoint presentation in my native language of English and for me to genuinely not understand a single point that was made. Not one. Nada. I understood the individual words, the pronunciation and diction were perfect, but between ubiquitous acronyms — and the darting laser pointer used to underline those acronyms — bulleted lists, and colourfully decorated charts and diagrams, after it was all said and done, I realized that I hadn’t comprehended a single idea. I wanted my hour back.

As usual, the entire post is worth reading.

I wonder what would happen if we all started asking presenters for our time back.

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Comments (6)

  1. [...] Source:Conversion Rate Marketing Blog – GrokDotCom by Future Now, Inc [...]

  2. You think this is bad, Edward Tufte has a whole section of one of his books dedicated to how NASA uses PowerPoint to communicate critical information – and fails spectacularly at it.

    For those who don’t know Tufte, take a look at his site:

    Be sure to scroll down and see the poster!

  3. When I find myself watching one of these presentations, I usually get an urgent phone call or something else that calls me away. Funny how that happens.

    The kicker with this approach is that the presentation evaluation forms only get filled out by the folks who stay through the end.

  4. Inside corporate walls, it’s probably not surprising to you how often I see this.

    Need a marketing plan; use powerpoint. Market research or capture financials; use powerpoint. Need a presentation for people? Use any of the above. Yikes.

    In the end, the stench of our own internal language seeps through the walls to our customers and ends up exactly like the presentation you describe.

    With so many bad examples around, most people just fall in line and imitate the irritating. With so many people speaking and presenting this way, most think it must be “how it’s done”.

    How many times a day do a I get this request, “Can you send me some slides on X”. I ask, “Context? Audience? Relevance?” They usually say, “By end of day is fine.”

    I hate to think what summer interns learn about corporate communications here.

    The most remarkable thing is how easy it is to stand out when you only use small words and short sentences. BTW – standing out is rarely good inside the walls.

    Enough of my ranting. I can hear the whispers in the cube farm now.

  5. One more thing off topic. How could I use Google A/B testing to test messages BEFORE a launch?

    I have a new product coming up and I’m fighting the language police e.g. They say “Redundant, fault-tolerant systems” vs. I say “$14 reliablity”. Usually we talk to a handful of people, but you never really know. So many materials will carry these messages far and wide and if they are wrong at launch, they will always be wrong.

    How could I put something on the web, drive clicks and get measurements on key messages without pre-announcing my products to my competitors or customers?

  6. sometimes less is more when it comes to a presentation

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Jeffrey Eisenberg, founder of FutureNow, is a professional marketing speaker and the co-author of New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling books Call to Action and Waiting For Your Cat to Bark. You can friend him on Facebook.

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