It must be silly season again – the BBC on PowerPoint Presentations

Monday, September 27th, 2010 by Simon Morton

Let me set my stall out early – I love the BBC.

I admire its reason for being (ref. Lord Reith – to educate, inform and entertain), am a fan of much of its output and am proud that a big chunk of the planet turns to the BBC World Service when they want the news. 

I do, however, have one beef.  The lazy, easy swiping of PowerPoint.  It would seem all you have to do is mention Microsoft’s PowerPoint to an editor with 2 minutes to fill and they’ll launch into a knee-jerk attack on the software.  

BBC video

Sadly, as in this example, the Beeb’s attack on PowerPoint won’t be based on any real understanding of the issues facing people using the software – a lack of planning, a misunderstanding on how and when to use it or, possibly more importantly, the ingrained cultural issues around the software in some large organisations. 

Nope – they’ll simply drone on using their favourite phrase, “Death by PowerPoint”, to attempt to form some empathy with the audience and then launch into the next 90 seconds of trivial clips of people falling into a coma in a lecture theatre or meeting room.  It’s not only rather patronising…it’s lazy.

So come on BBC – next time you report on PowerPoint (and yes, I implore you to – it’s far from perfect), engage the brain and think bigger. 

Offer ideas and examples of how it’s delivered ideas in a clear and impactful way (the majority of TED talks include the odd slide or 2), demonstrate how the quality of presentations has improved over the years (just look at the news graphics from 10 years ago as your own proof point) and celebrate how audiences have changed in line with the technology…and vice versa.

Oh, and whilst you’re at it, give us a call.  The last slides I saw delivered by a BBC employee were diabolical.

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One Response to “It must be silly season again – the BBC on PowerPoint Presentations”

  1. Miguel.M says:

    Irony of ironies…
    When I linked to watch this BBC video, the sponsoring
    spot I got was from Mercedes Benz, stating that:
    “Design is absolutely essencial!”

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