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Anti-PowerPoint Party in Swiss elections

The October Swiss elections might have an ‘Anti PowerPoint’ party on the ballot.

In Switzerland they are trying to get the numbers for an ‘Anti-Powerpoint Party’ to stand in the October 2011 elections.

The founder of the party, Matthias Poehm says that €350 billion could be saved each year simply by banning PowerPoint from public speaking.

They are trying to get 10,000 Swiss citizens to sign up and permit the party to stand for the election.

The web site is full of statistics and an alternative to PowerPoint.

One interesting page is the horror slides which include the now famous Afghan war slide.

The ‘solution’ proposed is the flip chart .

No doubt, Microsoft won’t be upset because at the bottom of many pages is the note “*PowerPoint as a representative for all presentation software”. So that’s all right then …

There’s no doubt that, like any tool, PowerPoint is overused and misused. We’ve all seen badly made documents, worksheets and web pages but that doesn’t mean we need to ban Microsoft’s Word, Excel and Expression Web as well. Too many people learn to use PowerPoint, at least a little, rather than learning how to make a presentation to people.

Flip charts are probably effective in some cases where the presentation supports it and the presenter is capable of drawing. I know when I try to draw the result is a drunken Escher reject!

The horror slides are, with one exception, shown out of context. Many presentation slide decks are made available to the audience for later referral. There are often slides included for later reading including web links etc that make little sense during the live presentation. Microsoft’s TechEd presenters often include ‘unreadable’ slides that they skip over, knowing attendees can download the decks at their leisure.

Some complicated looking slides are there to make the point that the situation is complicated! We’ve often seen slides like the famous Afghan war one, not for minute analysis but to demonstrate that a seemingly simple thing really is complex.

Like most ‘headline’ figures, €350 billion loss statistics seems an exaggeration but unlike most such ‘statistics’ this one is backed up with an explanation. To get such a large number it assumes 85% of people find presentations a ‘killing motivation’ and then uses that number to extrapolate an economic loss.

If you’re interested, you can buy Mr Poehm’s book – which may be the real point of the site and campaign.

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