Razzle Dazzle Them

Once upon a time not so long ago, there was a little boy who went to the market to try to sell his wares. He wasn't having any luck. "Who will buy my sweet red roses? Two blooms for a penny," he sang out hauntingly.

A young man came along, full of soft-spoken enthusiasm. "I can give you a great tool that will help you sell your roses. I can design this fabulous new application to help you get your message across. I can give you templates, hundreds of pretty clipart. You can create your presentations in blazingly brilliant colours with glorious animation. I can?"

"But, sir (kind knighted sir), they're only roses?"

"Ah, don't you see. What you need are pretty pictures, snappy words. Then, you can sell anything." The young man started singing, "If you give them a bit of the razzle dazzle. Razzle dazzle them. You've got to razzle dazzle them. Today the roses, tomorrow the world!"

And so marked the birth of slide show presentation software. (Sorry, guys. That was just a bit of unconfirmed rumour).

What is true, however, is how much slide show presentation software such as PowerPoint has revolutionised the business world. Company forecasts are now disseminated in presentations (complete with video clip, animation and sound). Staff meetings are run in slide shows. Project status meetings are driven by presentation slides. Even courtesy signs are printed using presentation software. You know the ones I mean: "Please Ensure You Have Flushed Before You Leave!" on the toilet doors and "Please clean up after yourself. Your mother does NOT work here!" over the kitchen sinks.

I confess. I have cultivated a doomed PowerPoint dependency over time. I've spent countless hours tinkering with the graphics, experimenting with 100 shades of blue and resizing 500 different tiny icons until they were the identical size. More tragically, I've worked into the dead of the night typing, deleting and retyping to come up with just the right word ? one that's concise, punchy and easy on the eye. Commenced?no. On track?oooh. Ahead of schedule?hmm. Completed? YES! After all, "Preliminary high-level design specifications ? Completed" is easier on the eye than "Design Specification ? Commenced".

One of my corporate-ignoramis friends was not so convinced. According to her, if presentation software really was the greatest thing since sliced bread, then one must be able to do a lot more with the application. It must become an indispensable part of modern civilisation. She set me a challenge, which I accepted (all too hastily). It meant that last weekend, armed with my laptop and my all-in-one scanner-printer-copier, I made the following five things for home:

  • I-made-it-myself I-love-you Valentines card

  • A well-done-for-coming-second-last certificate of achievement for niece

  • 20 copies of my-own-original-recipes booklet for Christmas presents

  • My whole-life mission statement

  • 10 inspirational posters to stick on the bathroom mirror, kitchen wall, toilet door?

    The same day I presented my 9-year-old niece with her "certificate of achievement", she thanked me with her own presentation for me (and a very pretty and professional looking one at that). The feature slide looked like this:

    Why I deserve a NEW PC:

  • Everyone else has a newer PC

  • Kerry's parents have just bought her a new PC

  • Even Kerry's little brother has a better PC

  • I'll do my homework on it

  • I'll really use it?I'll even make slide shows with it!!

    It got me thinking. Somewhere along the line, we have turned everything into presentations and slides shows as though every piece of communication is a sales pitch. I suppose I'm not intrinsically against the presentation software. After all, it is just a tool ? not the Devil incarnate. It is us, the intelligent users, who control the quality of our communication (with or without the aid of the presentation software). Quality comes from following the fundamentals like: keep the presentation points to the point, don't bore the audience, don't read from the slide, avoid excessive jargon, don't dumb down the actual speech and, most of all, content matters.

    The folly lies in the well-intentioned experimenters who insist on cramming the page with either whiz-bang animations or smearing the page with linguistic tripe. Whoosh, another bullet point shoots across the page. Whoosh, I've forgotten what the presenter just said.

    So, let's make a pact that we shall never bore each other with show-and-tell-a-thons. We shall never try to bamboozle each other with impressive looking slides. We shall never swamp presentations with meaningless graphics or management-speak jargons. We cannot let a piece of software get the better of us.

    In the mean time, I can't wait for the introduction of the 'Resume Template'. Perhaps it will come in Productivity Service Pack 143.

    About The Author

    Nancy Huang works as a business consultant and project manager. She enjoys writing in her spare time and is keen to be write on demand and be more widely published.

    In The News:

    This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

    Forbes

    We Need Software That Doesn't Panic When Sensors Malfunction
    Forbes
    Much is still unknown about the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia, but one potential explanation is that a malfunctioning physical sensor caused a software algorithm to incorrectly intervene in a way that the human pilots were neither aware of ...


    TechCrunch

    ServiceTitan raises $165M for its home services software, now valued at $1.65B
    TechCrunch
    ServiceTitan, a startup out of Glendale, Calif. that has built a software platform for home services businesses — in areas like air conditioning, plumbing and electrical repairs — to manage their work, has raised $165 million in what it claims is the ...
    Software for Plumbers and Electricians Is a $1.7 Billion BusinessBloomberg

    all 16 news articles »

    WOAI

    Software developers, come to San Antonio!
    WOAI
    San Antonio recently became the top-ranked city in the country for software developers according to a national publication. The article showcased a chart conducted by a moving and storage company called SpareFoot. In conjunction with ZipRecuiter, ...


    EFF

    The Supreme Court Should Confirm, Again, that Abstract Software Patents Don't Need a Trial to be Proved Invalid
    EFF
    That has enabled independent software developers and small businesses to fight meritless infringement allegations without taking on the staggering costs and risks of patent litigation. In other words, Alice has made the patent system better at doing ...


    TechCrunch

    'Software robot' startup UiPath expands Series C to $265M at a $3B valuation
    TechCrunch
    UiPath, a startup that works in the growing area of RPA, or robotic process automation — where AI-based software is used to help businesses run repetitive or mundane back-office tasks, to free up humans to tackle more sophisticated work — has raised ...
    Software robot startup UiPath lands funding from Madrona and others, plans Seattle-area expansionGeekWire

    all 9 news articles »

    Motherboard

    Why Is Antivirus Software Still a Thing?
    Motherboard
    But with the rise of security minded operating systems such as iOS and even Windows 10, there's a growing chorus of experts who think that, perhaps, the best days of antivirus software are behind us. People might not need it so much anymore, and in ...

    and more »

    CNBC

    FAA, Boeing study the need for 737 MAX software changes after Lion Air crash
    CNBC
    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing are evaluating the need for software or design changes to 737 MAX jets in the wake of last month's deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia, the regulator said on Tuesday. Boeing shares fell 2.1 percent on ...
    Boeing, FAA Weigh Software Fix After CrashIndustryWeek
    FAA, Boeing study need for 737 MAX software changes after crashReuters
    Boeing, US regulator weigh software fix on 737 Max after crashThe Straits Times
    Investor's Business Daily -Wall Street Journal
    all 776 news articles »

    The Verge

    AI software helped NASA dream up this spider-like interplanetary lander
    The Verge
    Using an AI design process, engineers at software company Autodesk and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory came up with a new interplanetary lander concept that could explore distant moons like Europa and Enceladus. Its slim design weighs less than ...
    Autodesk Teams Up with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to Explore New Approaches to Designing ... - Autodesk NewsAutodesk News

    all 22 news articles »

    How does software-defined access work?
    TechTarget
    For network service providers like telcos or cable companies, software-defined access refers to bringing SDN tools and benefits to the customer-facing edge of the network and to the customer premises equipment that delivers services. Overlap can exist ...

    and more »

    TechCo (blog)

    Best Route Planning Software
    TechCo (blog)
    Any company with a fleet, no matter how small or large, could benefit from a route planning software. It's the best way by far to accomplish a few essential tasks: It can help managers dispatch vehicles towards multiple locations, it can automatically ...

    Google News

  • SQL scripts for Project Accounting: Microsoft Great Plains series ? overview for developer

    Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains has Project Accounting module where... Read More

    Microsoft Great Plains: carpet, textile, fabric, felt distributor ? implementation overview

    In this small article we will show you the possible... Read More

    The Religion And Philosophy Of Small Internet Business

    I have always had a tendency to focus on the... Read More

    Editing Your Photos Using Microsoft Picture It Publishing Platinum 2002 - A Great Dinosaur

    I started using PIP (Picture It Publishing) Platinum 2002 right... Read More

    SQL Administrator Skills Required to Support Microsoft Great Plains

    Microsoft Great Plains is becoming more and more popular and... Read More

    40/sec to 500/sec

    IntroductionSurprised, by the title? well, this is a tour of... Read More

    A Guide To Purchasing Professional XP Icons Online And Enhancing Your Applications

    Icons are used everywhere; right from software applications, to internet... Read More

    Microsoft Great Plains - Payroll & HR Inexpensive Solution? Not Any More

    Microsoft Great Plains is main Microsoft Business Solutions accounting package... Read More

    Quick Summary of Basic and Common Linux Commands

    There are many commands that are used in linux on... Read More

    Collaboration Software: Index of Collaboration Software Technologies

    Collaboration SoftwareCollaboration Software, also known as group collaboration software or... Read More

    Programming Environments And The Software Production Process

    Introduction: The creating of a computer program involves a number... Read More

    Microsoft Office Selecting Secrets

    Stop the Runaway MouseWhat's the "runaway mouse?" You've seen it...you... Read More

    Microsoft Business Solutions VAR/Partner Selection ? Overview for IT Director/Manager/Controller

    Microsoft Great Plains and Microsoft CRM become more and more... Read More

    Anti-Virus Software

    Anti-virus software is used to find, remove or fix files... Read More

    Windows x: Basic Windows ?Security? Issues

    Language development computer: Computer-based method for aiding language development seems... Read More

    Cisco Certification: Introduction To ISDN, Part V

    The major reason I recommend getting your hands on real... Read More

    Call Alert Notifications - Free Answering Machine Software for PCs

    If you're online using a dialup Internet connection, you'll probably... Read More

    Selecting Microsoft Great Plains Partner/VAR/Reseller: ERP Implementation & Customization ? Overview

    In the case when you represent mid-size or mid-size-to-large business,... Read More

    Microsoft Great Plains implementation: Restaurants Supply Chain Management Example

    Microsoft Great Plains serves majority of US based horizontal and... Read More

    Microsoft Great Plains Installation ? Overview for IT Director/Controller

    Microsoft Great Plains is main mid-market application from Microsoft Business... Read More

    When is a Software Engineer Not a Software Engineer?

    The title of "software engineer" has got to be among... Read More

    Story Development Software: Good or Evil?

    In the early days of the personal computer, we're talking... Read More

    Great Plains Sales Order Processing and Invoicing Modules ? Tips For Consultants

    We'll give you non formal view, based on our consulting... Read More

    Microsoft CRM for Corporate Business ? Working Offline

    If your company has regional and worldwide operations, you might... Read More

    Interactive Mapping Brings Information to Life

    What is Interactive Mapping?Interactive mapping is a visual display medium... Read More