Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Tummy's Guide to Power Point Presentations

A Tummy's Guide to Power Point Presentations

There are moments of clarity when I know God exists. A clear lake, an imposing mountain, Sonia Shenoy on Television, a Tendulkar straight drive, or a crisply written song.

Then I attend a power point presentation.

And I start believing in Beer all over again.

Let’s get this straight. I have nothing against power point presentations. They have their purposes. Next to meditation, a power point presentation is perhaps the best way to nudge a group towards discovering the deeper meaning of life, get up to date with the latest developments, and receive answers for profound questions like is THAT A MOLE ON HIS LIP?

There are different types of presenters. The Good, the Bad, and the one with the mole on his lip.

Type 1: The Questioning Presenter

The most dangerous type. After every slide he will slowly turn around and say “What Slide 17 indicates is best demonstrated by slide 15, which of course talked about…”

A Question. You realize the game is up. He heard you snoring, and he may have seen you sleep walk across the room. The song you were playing on the electric guitar was too loud. A Question. You try to think fast. Was there a slide 15? Is this a trick?

There is a pregnant silence. You wonder what a pregnant silence means. But you don’t have time as you are trying to recollect Slide 15. The entire conference room looks towards the presenter and then follows the gaze of his eyes to the place you were sitting three seconds ago.

From underneath the table you flip open your cell phone to call your twin. You ask him if he can come and take your place in the next five seconds. You realize you don’t have a twin. You panic and call Just Dial.

“ Hello, Mr Gaurav Parab. Thank you for calling Just Dial.”

“Do you do twins”?

“In which area?”

“Do you do them?”

“No, we don’t do twins. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“Do you know what a pregnant silence means?”

Type 2: You scratch my back, I scratch yours

If type number 1 was the presenter from hell, type number 2 is everyone’s favorite. He does not want to give a presentation, and you do not want to be in his presentation. He is only here because Mogambo called him up and told him to do this.

Of course there are moments of awkwardness, when he starts his power point and turns to the audience. We see there are seven slides.  The first one is Welcome, and the last one is YOU. Slide number six is THANK. Slide 2 is a Table of Contents. Slide 3 is an updated version of the Table of Contents. Slide 5 is the company logo.

He made this presentation in the elevator leading to the conference room.

You love him already. You want to make babies with him. But then the presenter and the audience have a role to play. There is an unwritten agreement. He will keep it short, and you don’t ask questions. He will say nice things about you, and you will nod your head to every sound he makes.

I nod intelligently even if he farts.

Type 3: The Excel minator 

This guy does not bring a Power Point presentation to the room. He brings Excel Sheets. Power Point is for kids. The Big Boys play with Pivot tables. He lives, breathes and burps numbers. As my former professor says – when he needs to wipe his ass, he does not use tissues. He uses last month’s excel sheets.

He is the reason PPT rhymes with DDT.

“Sheet 1 shows that sales are skyrocketing in…”

Now, the thing to do is to look intelligent but not too intelligent. If you overdo the bit, the presenter will look at you and say the dreaded words,

“GP, can you come near the screen and help me operate this excel? It is awkward trying to show these fantastic numbers on screen and operate the laptop at the same time. Perhaps you can help me pivot.”
You don’t want to help him pivot. Just Dial. 299999999

Type 3: The Presenter from Yesterday

Some people kill you with words. Some people do it with the silence between them.

The Presenter from yesterday has lots of both. His presentation started when Nukkad  used to run on Television. You don’t know when that was, but you have always heard that they were the good old days. This guy never leaves. You should have got the hint when the computer crashed on seeing the 3 million floppy drives arriving in the two trucks.

As he goes on and on, the best way to survive is to make out with the girl next to you. Your kid can go to college, come back with a sweetheart, they can have kids, who will have some of their own. Your entire family can get together and see the last few slides of the presentation.

Which will never come. Sure, he will keep on giving hope by saying “We are almost at the end of the presentation”, but he said the same thing when Swabhimaan and Shanti started.

Type 4: The Presenter from Tomorrow

He is the hip kid. His laptop has a Matrix wallpaper. His PPT has animation. He does not touch his laptop. It runs on his voice commands after the mandatory retinal scan and urine test.

Always ask for 3 D glasses before sitting in his presentation.

He will try to identify with you and say things like, “ I know that power point presentations are a boringgg….”  And “ People… this will be a breeze”

It is never a breeze. Do not trust him. He is probably gay. What else can explain the Bluetooth receiver in his ear?

Type 5: The Nervous Presenter

He is scared and you know it. He knows you know. You know he knows you know.  The good people in the audience will help him out by clapping every now and then. You are not one of them. You would stop him suddenly, point your finger in his direction and laugh out aloud.

Then you would say, “Can you pivot slide 15 with slide 17”.

In the end, jokes apart it is important to note that PPTs are an important training tool for improving efficiency. It is also important for Sonia Shenoy to call me. I may have a paunch, but I swear I will lose it before our first date.

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Song on my Ipod this week? If you could read my mind by Gordan Lightfoot


Anonymous said...

the most funniest article i have seen on a blog for a long time.

Will be difficult to sit in a presentation with a straight face from now.


SOWMYA said...

LOVED it!!! :D I breathlessly await for more such gems! :P

Himadri said...

Total Fun!!:))

Tanmay said...

:)) needed it !!

Pipe said...

Good one! Liked the title too. :)

shail said...

GP, you are too good man.
Keep it up.

KD said...

Lol. Pivot tables! Retinal scan! :)

Btw you nearly missed Type 6: The Presenter (moniker The Reader)

He reads his slides off the screen ALONG WITH you. Each one of them. Just so you don't miss any of the verbs. Wait, he missed one himself! That 'is' in the second bullet point after the sentence that ends abruptly (copy paste while watching FRIENDS on his laptop).

And you're thinking - maybe, just maybe, he could change his tone every time the slide changes simply to throw people off track and think he's not actually READING FROM THE PROJECTION SCREEN.

Now if he must read in that hum-drum pitch and not pause wherever he's put in a full stop (did he even make this presentation in the first place), why aren't all the bullet points left aligned at least!!