Home Cartoon: Captive Audiences

Cartoon: Captive Audiences

Here it is 2010, and I’m still sitting through godawful, text-heavy PowerPoint presentations with cheesy transitions, pointless clip-art and (pause, Rob, and try to stop hyperventilating)… Comic Sans.

Speakers often focus on what it’s like to be giving a presentation, but it’s easy to forget what it’s like to sit through one – especially the fifth or sixth presentation of the third day of a conference.

You’re sitting in an uncomfortable chair (comfortable conference seating has yet to be invented), probably wired on a combination of carbs and caffeine, quite possibly sleep-deprived from all that late-night networking, and trying to stay alert while passively listening to someone droning on at the front of the room about “paradigms”.

Fortunately, I’m not seeing as many as I did three or four years ago. Word counts are often way down; diagrams are simpler and more effective; and slides, mercifully, take a back seat to the speaker and their story.

Maybe that’s because so many people saw An Inconvenient Truth and were blown away by what Jill Martin and Duarte did… or because of books like Presentation Zen, Beyond Bullet Points and Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes… or just because enough people have been to Beth Kanter‘s presentations.

Whatever the reason, I’m grateful, and so, I suspect, are a whole lot of audience members.

(Of course, the state of the art is constantly in flux. And if you want to see where presentations are going, especially in an era of Twitter-enabled audiences who aren’t feeling so passive any more, you could do far worse than reading Cliff Atkinson’s The Backchannel.)

More Noise to Signal.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.