Issue #94 October 4, 2005

1. Annoying PowerPoint Survey Results Preview

Thanks to the almost 700 people who completed the survey on what annoys you about bad PowerPoint presentations. The full survey results will be coming in the next issue because I have over 400 written comments to pour through and analyze. But I wanted to share the results of the first question on the most annoying aspects of bad PowerPoint presentations. The top of the list did not change from the last time I did the survey (in 2003), so it looks like I still have lots of work to do in order to rid the world of these annoyances. If your organization needs help in these areas, let me know so I can come and rescue you from “Death by PowerPoint”. Here are the top annoyances: The speaker read the slides to us 61.9% Text so small I couldn’t read it 47.1% Slides hard to see because of color choice 42.7% Full sentences instead of bullet points 39.0% Moving/flying text or graphics 24.8% Overly complex diagrams or charts 22.3% Remember that everyone was asked to pick their top 3 items, so the totals add up to around 300% for all the items (only the top items are listed here). Next time you start to prepare a PowerPoint presentation, keep the results of this survey in mind. I’ll have the full results available by the next newsletter.

2. Office 12 Changes Part 1

Some of you may be aware that Microsoft is releasing the next version of the Office suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook, in the second half of next year. Recently, Microsoft gave the public a first glimpse at the new products and there are two major changes that you need to be aware of. I will cover the first major change this issue and the other area next newsletter. The first major change is that the familiar user interface of menus and commands has been replaced. The new user interface uses what Microsoft terms ribbons. These ribbons are collections of features grouped by what you will most likely need to do at any point in time. For the first time they have organized things by what we do instead of how their programmers collect features (its about time). This ribbon is different that what you have seen before and it will take some getting used to. The hope is that it will be more logical for most people and we will be able to catch on quickly. And note that there will be no option to use the old or classic menu and command interface in the new version, so if you upgrade, you must learn the ribbon interface. One neat feature of the interface seems to be a slider at the bottom of the screen that allows you to zoom in or out on the fly, which should help in formatting and graphic placement. You can see some screen shots of the new interface on Microsoft’s press site for Office at: Just go to the press release of Sep 13th and it shows you some sample screen shots. Not everything has been set in stone yet, but the new user interface will look pretty much like what they previewed. Next time I’ll discuss the other, more scary change – the new file formats and give you my recommendation on how to proceed between now and the new release.

3. Useful Resource – Top 100 Speeches

Anybody who wants to get better at any skill knows that one of the best ways to learn is to observe those who do it well. Whether it is a sport, a trade or a relationship, you should look for those who do it well. If you have to deliver presentations in any context, you would do well to listen some of the greatest speeches ever delivered. On this web site, they have the audio of 100 of the greatest speeches of all time. As you listen, pay close attention to their delivery, word choice and especially the passion they bring to their subject. It is an invaluable resource to learn from at: