FCE must take continuing education courses every year, and without fail he will spend a day in a lecture hall then come home and complain about one or two of the lecturers. His complaints are usually connected to PowerPoint presentations.
It seems that a lot of workshop presenters love PowerPoint. They put on their presentation, they read each slide to their “students,” and that is the sum of the enrichment they offer. Wouldn’t it just be easier to e-mail the presentation and let the students read it themselves? Easier, yes; profitable, no. After all, someone is paying for the participants to attend the workshops (often the participants themselves), which are often expensive.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to enjoy the workshop experience. Happily, I did not have to pay; it was provided by a county employee who runs a program that provides services to at-risk youth. His mission was to introduce a roomful of volunteers who work with courts and kids to his program.
This should be interesting — after all, he’s passionate about his job, and I’m interested in the topic. I have few rules that I expect others to follow, however, one is that if you want me to listen to you, you have to talk to me.
It was with great relief I welcomed his announcement that he hates PowerPoint presentations and wouldn’t be giving one. Imagine the chagrin when he handed out stapled photocopies of — you’re not going to believe this — his all-text PowerPoint presentation, and then read the slides to us. Many of us read quickly through them, and finished by the time he was going through slide two. That left several hours of workshop time for us to pass asides. The four-hour session seemed endless.
Microsoft promoted PowerPoint as the end of boring presentations. We celebrated the end of workshops in which a presenter opened a book and read it to us. This is better? Perhaps Microsoft could revoke some end-user licenses, and sentence abusers to community service. It wouldn’t solve the problem of death-by-boredom presentations, but it would make me laugh.