by Thomas Wailgum

8 More PowerPoint Train Wrecks

Dec 07, 2009
Enterprise Applications

We thought we had seen presentation disaster at its worst with the last set of PowerPoint slides. We were wrong. These train wrecks, captured in all their not-so-fiery infamy, show what truly terrible PPT slides can do to burn innocent audiences everywhere.

Don’t Hate the Technology, Hate the Playa’

Before you begin viewing the PPT carnage, you must always remember the cardinal rule of presentations: “PowerPoint Doesn’t Kill Presentations. People Do.” Learn it. Know it. Live it. (If you missed the first installment, see 8 PowerPoint Train Wrecks.)

Massive Text-plosion


I spy some white space at the top there, just under that insanely catchy “Stakeholders and Communities with Web 2.0 +” headline, where you could add some more text. (For more on what not to do, check out 5 Ways to Ruin Your Next Presentation.)

A Real Neck-Bender (and Head-Scratcher)


When attempting to read this slide, it helps if you can turn your head (or eyes, if possible) in a continuous, circular 360-degree motion. I can easily envision Steve Jobs using the same type of slide. (For more on Jobs, see’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs.)

Presentation Irony, Part I


If this slide doesn’t define irony, then I don’t know what does.

Presentation Irony, Part II


Oops! I spoke too soon on the previous slide. This slide attempts to explain the details of an online survey on “what annoyed audiences most about PowerPoint presentations”: 120.7% of respondents said: “Slides Are Too Complicated.” Math and English extra help anyone?

Can I Get an Acronym?


The color coding is nice and maybe this was all germane to the audience, but—OMG—that’s a lot of tech acronyms in one slide. (Reminds of me of Jeopardy: “I’ll take ‘RDFa Semantics’ for $400, Alex.”)

JPEG versus GIF Battle Royale!


Good seats still available for this presentation! (Sometimes, the minimalist approach to slides can go horribly wrong.)

Grand Slam


The photographer of this slide states: “Note the use of every possible crime against taste: clipart, wordart, caps, initial caps and even comic sans—oh, and every single one of the three words on screen is meaningless jargon. It got worse.” Yikes! (Also see: 10 PowerPoint Tips.)

Clipart Catastrophe


Mind you, this slide aims to help people: “Effective Presentations Using PowerPoint” is the title, noted at the bottom. Also be sure to note that, purportedly, 76 slides come before this one.

The Visible Effects of Too Many Presentations


To document his enjoyment of this presentation, Daniel Greene took a photo of himself with his MacBook’s built-in camera. Citizen journalism can be harsh, people. (See 5 Key Audience Questions to Help You Read the Room for more on this topic.)

Remember: It’s Called Microsoft PowerPoint…


…and not Microsoft BulletPoint! This satirical image—in its own way—pays homage to and mocks the disastrous consequences of too many bullets in presentation slides. (If you missed the first installment, see 8 PowerPoint Train Wrecks.)

Also see:

How 10 Famous Technology Products Got Their Names

Do you Tweet? Follow me on Twitter @twailgum. Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline.