Dave Paradi helps corporate professionals use PowerPoint to visually communicate the messages in their data so they don’t overwhelm and confuse executives. He is one of sixteen people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the PowerPoint Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the PowerPoint community. He has authored nine books on effective PowerPoint presentations and has written his newsletter every two weeks for over fifteen years. His website is www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com.
In this conversation, Dave discusses his new The Annoying PowerPoint Survey 2017 survey.
Geetesh: You’ve been doing these amazing surveys on what annoys people about PowerPoint presentations. What motivates you to create these surveys, and how do you share these results?
Dave: I create these surveys so that presenters can hear honest feedback from audience members. Too often a presenter doesn’t hear truly honest feedback because audience members don’t want to hurt their feelings or be negative about the presentation. Through an anonymous survey, I gather what audiences really think. It helps presenters to focus on those areas that audiences really care about. In the last survey I added a question for the respondents to give presenters advice on improving presentations. This proved to be a valuable resource of actionable insights for presenters. Readers can complete the current survey until September 24, 2017. I also encourage readers to share the survey link with others in their organizations and on social media so we hear from as many people as possible.
I share the results of the survey in my newsletter and on my website, as well as through industry publications and website like Indezine. I also share the results in my customized workshops. When I share the results, I always see heads nodding as people agree with the results. This reinforces that what the survey has told me is what real corporate presenters face every day. The results from the latest survey will be published in early October.
Geetesh: Over the years, you must have witnessed trends based on your survey findings. Are there some trends that are more noticeable than others?
Dave: There are two trends that stand out. The first is that presentations have grown dramatically in popularity as a vehicle for communication in organizations. The percentage of people who say that they see at least one presentation per day every business day has more than doubled in the last eight years. This is backed up by what I hear when speaking to groups. They say they are creating more presentations than ever before. This is why learning the skills to prepare and deliver presentations is so critical today.
The second trend is that the top annoyances in the survey have not changed since the first survey back in 2003. Many people would think that if presentations are done more frequently, the presentations would improve. Unfortunately, that is not the case. After my workshops, people often ask why these skills aren’t taught in school, since it would make such a positive impact in their jobs. Most people are self-taught when it comes to presentations and PowerPoint. They learn from others or search the Internet and hope they find a tutorial that is correct. Until these skills are taught in school, I continue to write books, teach workshops, and point people to trusted resources like Indezine, the PowerPoint FAQ, and my fellow PowerPoint MVPs.