ArtsProfessional welcomes Gillian Bates to contribute an occasional column taking a look at the lighter side of life and work as a freelancer in the arts.
What?s the (Power) Point?
I have just broken a most solemn vow. One I took several years ago and one I did not make lightly. I have just given my first ever PowerPoint presentation.
Why the vow and why the renunciation? Over the years my response to PowerPoint presentations has fallen into three categories: Gobsmacked (Yep? clever? and your point is??. blimey, I?ve never seen clip art do that before?)
Bored (This is dull, so you bunged in some graphics and now, yep, even duller.) Excruciatingly Bored (Is this an Autocue? ? why am I at the end and you?re still only on the first sentence?)
From conference to conference the screens have got bigger and bigger, and the speakers are dwarfed in their glare. I even went to one where the screen was centre stage and the speaker (actually a superb communicator and strikingly good looking) was somewhere, far stage left, in the dark.
Now call me old fashioned (never!), but whatever happened to getting your point across with words? Call me narcissistic (well, that would be fair enough) but whatever happened to ?look at me while I?m talking to you?? Are we all so in awe of the technology that we worship its power and forget to make our point?
So I?ve battled on, carrying a high torch for the old ways, technology free. Then, this week, I cracked. Why? Well a month ago I saw a good PowerPoint presentation. Not flashy, but clever and informative and one in which the speaker and the screen had a relationship. In fact they had a whole duet thing going on - Speaker fed Screen the lines, and Screen happily fed him straight back. Screen was attractive, amusing and genuinely creative, but never once tried to upstage Speaker. It was a romance, but with only one ego involved. (Frankly, that?s my kind of relationship).
So how did my first ever PowerPoint presentation go? Well, put it like this, I?m in love.
Gillian Bates is a freelance arts marketing consultant e: firstname.lastname@example.org