Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint: Conversation with Ellen Finkelstein

Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint: Conversation with Ellen Finkelstein

Created: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 posted by at 7:05 am

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Ellen Finkelstein

Ellen FinkelsteinEllen Finkelstein is author of several PowerPoint, Flash, and AutoCAD books — she has just launched a new campaign that she calls Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint.

In this conversation, Ellen talks more about this campaign.

Geetesh: Tell me what the Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint is, what made you get started with this one, and what you hope you achieve?

Ellen: The Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint is an effort to help presenters present more effectively, so that they meet their audiences’ needs, instead of boring them and being irrelevant. I was working on my white paper–putting my thoughts and knowledge on presenting together with the results of a survey on people’s experiences with Death by PowerPoint. The results of that survey were especially thought-provoking and made me wonder why there are still so many poor presentations being given day after day, when there’s so much good knowledge available about how to present effectively. The survey responders were members of an audience and I realized that many presenters simply don’t know that they’re causing Death by PowerPoint. Without that knowledge, they don’t even look for information on improving their presentation skills.

So, the idea came to empower audiences to offer the white paper to presenters. In my personal experience, negative feedback has been crucial to spurring me on to realize I needed to improve and doing something about it, but no one ever offered me a resource to help. That would have been so appreciated and useful! So I decided that, in addition to offering the white paper – which is like a mini-course in presentation skills – free to anyone who was interested, I would reach out to audiences and suggest to them that they offer the white paper to presenters. It’s a very gentle and constructive way to indicate to a presenter that improvement is needed. That’s how the Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint started.

Geetesh: You do provide a full page invitation along with an ebook at the Campaign Against Death by PowerPoint site – tell us more.

Ellen: Yes, at, anyone can download a one-page invitation to give to a presenter. The invitation invites the presenter to download the free white paper at Any presenter who downloads the white paper will find a great resource with advice on what to avoid and simple steps to take to improve presentations, including content, design, and delivery. You’re right, the white paper is more of an ebook than a white paper—it’s just over 40 pages!

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