Some thoughts on Powerpoint Presentations

Reliance on any of the presentation software and projection units may be dangerous. And while the high tech pulling power is great and the convenience of developing and then presenting on a laptop computer is wonderful, there are a number of dangers.

One, the easy availability of colors and animation and fancy backgrounds can often result in too much color, distracting animation and overly complex backgrounds. The message gets lost in the media.

Plus, there is a tendency to go overboard with the complexity. Instead of making a couple of points with a couple of slides or images, one wants to make ALL of the possible points with all of the potential images.

More often than not, a presenter will rely on another person's projection unit, especially for consultants and presenters at conferences and similar venues. In the computer software sales industry, the framework is "demo and die" and the goal is to sell the software without doing a demonstration because if something bad can happen, it will happen.

It seems the same with these pc-based presentations. How many war stories can you tell?

Oftentimes, some hardware or software glitch will occur. Some professionals always carry a backup copy of their program, on cd and in Acrobat so that any presentation software can handle the format and the materials. Good idea, methinks!

Plus, many of these units require the room to be dimmed. One better have an engaging and involving presentation because, many of the overworked and overstressed people in today's organizations seem to be looking for nap time whenever they can find it. Put a tired person in a dim room with a fancy, animated high-tech presentation and one often has all the makings of a disaster.

PowerPoint and the other programs of this nature are excellent tools. I use them to generate all my presentation materials because they are simple, powerful and clear. The biggest weakness is to overcome the tendency to use ALL of the features and rely on the software as the presentation focus rather than the materials and ideas themselves.

There is often a need just to turn the darn thing off and let people think and talk amongst themselves – hard to do when you are wrapped up into a presentation stage show!

A simple presentation, properly focused and communicated and that allows for some degree of thinking and interaction is probably your most effective course of action in these sessions.

Have those tricks and tools available, but keep some in your pocket in case of emergency. Bring backups of key stuff – the web is also a good place to store your materials for remote access when needed.


To illustrate the problem of high tech and the possible loss of focus on participants, I share the following posts from David and Phil, posted in the TRDEV list recently:

Hi David,

You will most likely have to get into writing VB Script to control the MCI interface between Powerpoint and your media clips.

In stead of using Powerpoint, I'd suggest you try DazzlerMax (Dazzler in the UK.). You'll avoid writing scripts and be able to add well some cool 3D effects at the same time.

Not only can you have a mouse click play your audio/video clip, you can have text (bullets) or images display automatically when the video/audio plays at key points, i.e. at 10 seconds into the clip have this bullet display, at 30 seconds have this picture display...

The US Web site is

The UK site is

You can download a free 30-day trial copy from either site.


Regards, Phil xxxxx - Product Manager

----- Original Message -----

I know it is possible to record audio clips and video clips onto Powerpoint presentations. Is there a way of doing it so that the clip comes in automatically at one click of your remote control or mouse, in the same way that you would click from one slide to another?

I ask because currently in my presentations, for which I use a Toshiba Tectra laptop and a pretty powerful multi-media projector by 3M, I click the remote from RGB to video mode, then play clips through a video player connected to the projector. This is fine for clips of several minutes, but occasionally I just want something that is literally a few seconds long and I am looking for a slicker way of doing it without having to use my remote as a mouse and finding the 'play' button on a pre-recorded Powerpoint insert. That method seems to me awkward. The particular effect I am looking for contains an element of surprise and therefore needs to be one-click instantaneous. My need is for both video and for sound-only inserts.


go to Some thoughts on Effective Meetings

back to Managers as Facilitators of Improvement

back to Facilitation and Presentation Tips and Ideas

Back to Articles and Whole Bunch of Other Stuff