The proliferation of PowerPoint is a further signal of the decline of Western Civilization and the impending Apocalypse.
Is it too much to ask for a speaker to speak to me instead of an inanimate object?
Before PowerPoint, speakers looked at the audience. Now presenters are reduced to standing with their backs facing the audience, reading bland bullet points while ignoring a nearby sleepy audience that already has read the handout and whose only defense against unconsciousness is to color in all the “O’s” on the page in blue ink.
Does any serious person think that PowerPoint makes a public speaking better?
Would Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 have been made better with a PowerPoint shining off Abe’s chest at the Lincoln Memorial? What would that slide have looked like?
- A dream
- I have one
- Let freedom ring from mountains
- Free at last
In 1986, Ronald Reagan addressed the nation following the space shuttle Challenger disaster and told all Americans: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”
Do you think he could have brought the point home better and begun the healing of a hurting nation if Ronnie had been fiddling with the presentation remote while a clip art of Jesus glowed three feet away on a free-standing screen?
Dr. King and President Reagan never would have stooped so low. Al Gore seems to be the only person dumb enough to try and save the world with a PowerPoint.
The great speakers who change hearts and minds are more concerned about connecting with their audience than they are with connecting their laptops to a projector.
It is pathetic, but PowerPoint has become a crutch for bad public speakers everywhere.
Speakers now stand gleeful when the remote works, or God forbid it doesn’t and they stop mid-speech to lament about gremlins in the computer. Then they make the audience wait while they call upon IT to spend the next five minutes frantically making sure that every word the speaker speaks shows up on the screen, wearing out the audience and ensuring our boredom is complete.
The art of communication is being FedEx-ed to Hell, and the package will contain a description of communication’s demise in PowerPoint format. It will be described in a series of capitalized bullet points replete with clip art, inconsistent slide transitions and neatly placed in a stock template.
This presentation epidemic might trickle down into everyday conversation. I can foresee a day when I will turn to a friend in an elevator and ask the mundane icebreaking question, “How are you?” Armed with his iPod, my new friend will counter using his standard response PowerPoint:
- Thanks for asking
- And you?