Issue #20 November 19, 2002

1. The Cost of Bad PowerPoint

Recently I calculated the cost of the time that is wasted due to bad PowerPoint presentations and I was stunned to find out it was $252 million each day! How do I arrive at this figure? The New Yorker magazine reported a Microsoft estimate of 30 million PowerPoint presentations made each day. Using some conservative estimates of the number of people watching each presentation (4 people, average salary of $35,000/year) and the percentage of time wasted due to an ineffective message (25% of the average half-hour presentation) you arrive at a figure of $252 million per day in wasted time alone. In a recent article I expanded on this finding by looking at the four reasons we don’t like most PowerPoint presentations: we can’t figure out the point of the presentation, we can’t see what is on the screen, we can’t understand the points and we are distracted by what is on the screen. This new article is on the web site and it may be one article that you want to send to others.

2. Sending E-mail in the future

Sometimes you will want to create an e-mail but not send it until a later time or date. Microsoft Outlook contains a feature that allows you to do this. Once you have written your e-mail message, click on the View menu and click on the Options menu item. You will see the Message Options dialog box. One of the options you can set is “Do not deliver before”. By dropping down the selection box for this option, you can select the date that you want the message sent. The system will usually set the time to 5:00pm, but you can change that to any time you like by editing the value in the option field. This can be used to send reminder e-mails a day or two before an event or followup thank you e-mails after a meeting.

3. Useful Resource – Google Groups

The web site is my current favorite web search site, but it also has a great feature that can come in handy for finding solutions to tricky problems. Google has purchased the entire history of usenet discussion group messages and put them online in a searchable database. These discussion groups are like a large virtual meeting place of experts and those interested in many different topics. Each group is focused on a particular area or topic and the search engine will find what you want across this vast array of groups. To access this resource, go to and click on the Groups tab. You can enter some keywords in the search field and when you click the Search button, the system will search through the discussion groups to find relevant messages. I used this successfully to solve a nagging problem I had with printing PowerPoint handouts to Adobe Acrobat 5.0.5. It would always seem to cut off the header and footer of my handout master. I found out that Acrobat was not cutting the header and footer off, it was cropping the page when it showed it on screen or printed it and by changing the cropping settings I solved the problem. If you have a problem you have been struggling with for a while, check to see if you can find an answer in the Google Groups.