PowerPoint Punt

by Steve Kayser, Cincom's Expert Access Editor

I recently received an e-mail from a reader espousing the benefits and yes, even absolute necessity, of using PowerPoint slides during sales presentations (see see below).


"Steve! No way you can give a sales presentation without PowerPoint. Business people expect it ... demand it!

You must be a marketing bonehead!"



Obviously the reader doesn’t know me.


Do I look like a marketing bonehead?

But, the vehemence and hard-core fanaticism of the reader’s comments (which I do not include here due to my civil nature) made me rethink my position.

That’s right.

I might quite possibly have been wrong. As hard as that is for me to admit, it’s true.

I’m flip-flopping. With a slight qualification.

If you can pass the PowerPoint Presentation Proof-of-Pudding Test below, you are one of those rarefied elites. 


A superhero among PowerPoint presenters. (That includes anyone that uses PowerPoint slides to present an argument or presentation of a project, business case, or intelligent information.)

Can you really give a presentation without PowerPoint slides?


It depends.

Dare you take the PowerPoint Proof-of-Pudding Test?

The next presentation you give or attend, take note of what occurs after PowerPoint slide number five is swiped/swished onto the screen. Unless you really are "da man," the Steven Spielberg of the sales presentation, 99 percent of the people in attendance will fall into one of the following descriptive categories:

1. The Mighty E-mail Master Multi-tasker (MEMM)

The MEMM reads their e-mail on desktops, laptops, PDAs, or wireless (or all three at the same time) during your presentation. He looks up occasionally, feigns interest, may smile on the rare occasion and spews a few meaningless corporate acronyms to let you know he’s in the room, then … puts his head down, empties all e-mail folders - including sent, draft, and trash - and proceeds to the nearest online sports or horoscope web page.

*A special note on the MEMM. MEMMs tend to be the most vociferous critic of the presentation after you leave. They can clearly and concisely detail the flaws in any presentation to which they don’t pay attention.

2. The Diligent Dutiful Drone (DDD)

The DDD stares, smiles, nods, drinks, and laughs on rare occasions (keep your distance … could be flatulence) and most closely resembles a display-case manikin. What’s nice about the DDD is:

A. They smile and make you feel a little better about yourself, and

B. They have ZERO influence.

They don’t want to be there.

• You’re boring.

• You’re lying.

• They know it.

But, they’re masters of the art of being actively employed while daydreaming.

3. The Game Player (GP)

A real classic. I like him. Type "A" introverted extrovert. Flips open the laptop, occasionally tries to hide online game-playing activities, but goes to no great effort. Looks up every five to seven minutes and convincingly nods understanding of complex technology, processes and people issues. Has canned industry-analyst quotes or research that is prattled off machine-gun style in the blink of a PowerPoint swish. The GP can typically play between three to five online games at one time, within communities ranging from 2,000 to 4,000 users; answer all attacks; and defend and super-power-pack energizing, life-protecting, virtual-shield questions via Instant Messenger (IM) in less than one second. Very efficient.

4. The D*mn Data Destroyer (3-D)

The 3-D may smile occasionally and has insidiously iridescent eyes and a serial-killer smile that yells, "What lie are you telling?" The 3-D exuberantly researches each fact you use in your presentation and typically has between 800 to 1,000 search engines at his disposal intelligently configured to automate the process of destroying your credibility. His success rate is over 90 percent. Keys to look for: Sometime after PowerPoint slide #10 of your presentation, if he has failed to find a factual misstatement, his eyes turn a glowing red and some spittle or drool visibly emanate. Steer clear … 3-D is extremely dangerous.

5. The "ME-ME," or the "I’m Much Too Important to Be Here"

The most irritating of presentation attendees, ME-ME, answers all e-mails, never looks up, never pays attention, and takes all cellphone calls while in the meeting. The only courtesy extended to you is turning around backwards to bend over while talking to the auto-repair shop on the cellphone. Sometimes ME-ME even stoops to feigning a cellphone call by testing the ringer … "Sorry, I have to take this very important, business-critical call."

WARNING! ME-ME is just as dangerous as 3-D. To be able to pull off this offensively rude behavior, ME-ME actually has some power and/or authority. Me-Me is predisposed to not liking your presentation most probably because it wasn’t a ME-ME idea.

Therefore it stinks.

And so do you.

You recognized the categories didn’t you?

Didn’t you?

You did?

You flunked. 

But that’s okay. Everyone does.

However, have you given a PowerPoint presentation presentation without seeing one of them?




Currently there are no members …. you’d be the first.

If you flunked the test …

Do the PowerPoint Punt! 



Throw your 58-slide, PowerPoint presentations and reverse-flash, creative swipe/swish, corporate-acronym Bin Laden gobbledygook out the fourth-story window.

Try something else.

Get creative.

About Steve Kayser: Steve is currently Cincom's Expert Access Editor and PR Manager. In his spare time, Steve models kilts for Un-Vanity, Non-GQ and The Manly Kilt Wearing Man’s monthly magazines. Steve also headlines fundraising events for his run at an Olympic Gold Medal in the kilt-wearing mechanical bull riding competition to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2050. For more info, you can contact Steve at skayser@cincom.com.