In my previous post, I mentioned an article by BBC Magazine that contains some interesting information about PowerPoint. Here are two figures from that article worth pondering:
- It is estimated that businesses make around 30 million PowerPoint presentations every day.
- Including time for starting up and shutting down, the average PowerPoint session lasts 250 minutes.
Those figures, if accurate, are incredible. Let’s break down the PowerPoint math a bit more.
In order not to be sensationalist, let’s assume that the above figures wildly overestimate the reality. Let’s assume that instead of 30 million PowerPoint presentations a day, there are only 1 million per day (i.e., 3.3% of the given figure). And let’s assume that the average PowerPoint presentation lasts exactly 60 minutes and not 250 minutes (i.e., one quarter of the given figure).
Let’s now add one final factor and assume that the average PowerPoint presentation involves 15 people (audience, presenter and technicians all included). Fair? OK. Let’s see how the math works out.
1,000,000 presentations x 1 hour x 15 people
= 15,000,000 hours of people’s time each day
So far, so good. But 15 million is a big number to get our heads around. Let break it down further.
15,000,000 hours = 625,000 days = 1,712 years
1,712 years!? The Roman Empire didn’t last that long!
That figure – 1,712 years of people’s time devoted to slide presentations every day – is breath-taking. Don’t forget, that’s a conservative number! But the PowerPoint math doesn’t lie.
Now, many of those presentations are interesting and worthwhile. But you and I both know that a significant number of them are a waste of time. That is a shame.
Rome wasn’t built in a day; likewise, your PowerPoint presentation shouldn’t be cobbled together in haste. Put some effort into it. Make it stimulating and useful for your audience. If you don’t, and if you present often, your reputation as a public speaker will, like the Roman Empire, suffer its own Decline and Fall – and it won’t take nearly as long.