Thoughts on PowerPoint

This week has been pretty crappy.

I realized that a wonderful, gorgeous pair of jeans I purchased a month ago do not fit me anymore.  I am too fat for them.  This is horrifying to me because I have slowly been realizing how much I sit and do not do anything since I am employed and going to school.  I spend so much time sitting in class or sitting at work.  And somehow, when I get home, I am so tired, I don’t want to go to the gym, I just want to go to bed and sleep.

I go to work at 7:15 AM, so I am obviously waking up early.  I get home at about 5:30 PM, so I would need to head to the gym straight from work in order to get home at a decent hour.  Either way, the current system isn’t working out for my body.  As I get more sluggish, I feel worse and feel even less inspired to do anything.  Going through boxes again today was mentally exhausting and not what I wanted to do.  And my manfriend bailed on going to the gym today, so I didn’t go, either.  Why?  I wanted support, and there was none offered.

I have a presentation for my other class due on Tuesday.  I think we will do okay, we have all our discussion questions planned out.  We will not be using PowerPoint, though.  The 2321 class discussion last week harped and harped upon improper use of PowerPoint.  I had no idea it was so hated!

Basically, this reading discusses how PowerPoint serves to hide all your important conclusions at the bottom of slides and stacks your information so connections are near impossible to make…To be fair, the author doesn’t totally slam PowerPoint, but it points out a ton of weaknesses and problems.

For example, it discusses how layout and information hierarchies in the slide set-up leads the important information to be at the bottom of the slide in the smallest type.  For the space shuttle Columbia, the author obtained copies of the PPT slides prepared by the scientists and engineers who discovered how none of their tests included the current flight conditions, which meant none of their data was relevant to the current situation.  Therefore, no one knew just how critical that bit of foam was, and everything else was calculated wrong and communicated wrong, so everything did go wrong.

Readings like this make me look at PowerPoint in a different way.  I remember when I was 8 years old, I discovered my mom’s work laptop had PowerPoint on it, so I started playing with it and making silly slideshows and using all the noisy, distracting sound effects I could find.  Those were some great afternoons spent in front of the computer.  I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

But now, as an adult, I can see its limitations.  It is really painful sitting through someone’s presentation, especially if the person just reads the slides aloud.  It’s not like you’re watching a Disney Sing Along Song video, and you need the text for singing.  Not many people like public speaking, though, so having a script on the screen is probably comforting to some people.

To those people, I say, “Take a speech class and gain some self confidence!”  There is nothing like college communications courses to open your eyes to the different methods of communication, how to understand others, how to understand the media, and how to present yourself better professionally, privately, and publicly.

The kind of people who don’t know how to communicate well are the kind of people who say “Um” in an interview.  In case you can’t sense my nasty tone, I am implying that if you do not practice answers to common questions before you go to an interview, you are foolish.  Easy questions should have easy answers roll right off your tongue.  “Um, well, uh, I went to UT and got my degree in 2005.  I, um, I, uh, I really want to work for Wells Fargo because I am a loyal customer my own self, and uh, I would like to work for like a solid company, uh, as an adult.”

Does this tell you how annoyed I was at that interview, sitting through the other candidates’ rambles?  I wanted to scream, I was so annoyed.  Learn to present yourself well, it is a life skill!  I found it shameful how college educated adults still cannot present themselves well verbally.  They had no problem making a resume, I saw how long and shiny and professional they all were in that aspect.  But my goodness, just spit it out!

As you can see, I am no fan of group interviews.  Or presentations.  I remember trying to learn Anatomy and Physiology a couple years back, and all the notes were presented in PowerPoint, and my professors tried to fit all these complex diagrams on the slides.  Trust me, it never ended well.  And those note packets were 10 pages long each, minimum.

When it really comes down to it, the best method for learning is old-school drawing of webs and information on a dry erase board.  No muss, no fuss, no dead trees.

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About sunlightsnow

I am working 40 hours and going to school full-time, which means what little life I can lead will be consumed with work, schoolwork, and sleeping.
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