When I was in college, I went through a brief stint writing articles about the Carolina Panthers for a Seahawks fan site (I know, there’s a lot to unpack in that sentence). It was a pretty fun side gig: it let me talk football, added a bit of routine/structure to my week, helped me hone my writing skills a bit, etc.
The funniest part of it all, though (well, besides the ridiculousness of the core concept), was our “editorial” staff. If the quotes I used didn’t convey the irony clearly enough, let me tell you: that was a pretty ironic title for their jobs. More often than not, I’d submit a piece for review only to find it they’d edited it…but edited it from correct to incorrect. It usually wasn’t anything major, but I always found it funny that someone was actively ADDING small grammatical/syntax errors to these articles. It’s one thing to not contribute; it’s another thing to actively work against your writers.
I didn’t think much of it at the time, though, since it’s not like any of us are perfect linguists (readers of this blog probably already knew that). Besides, we were all amateurs, more or less. Surely if we were PROFESSIONALS, though, there’d be more strict standards. Surely no one, if it was important to their job, would be so cavalier about the details of, oh, I don’t know, a PowerPoint presentation, right?
Now look, this link has nothing to do with my job specifically, that’s true. But come on, I’m not trying to incriminate myself or any of my actual coworkers here (just, you know, passive-aggressively mock them behind their backs like a normal person) — but take my word for it, most people are absolutely terrible with Microsoft PowerPoint. You wouldn’t think it’s a hard concept, right? You just summarize a few key points using text and pictures, charts, graphs and the like. Keep the bullet points short and sweet, keep the material relevant to the subject at hand and generally act like you’re writing an outline for a paper: consistency matters! It doesn’t look very good to jump back and forth between tenses or to write half of your sentences in the third person and half in short, stilted ones, does it? (That was rhetorical, but I still feel compelled to tell you the answer is: no.)
The reason this is on my mind is because I recently had to make a presentation for work. I put it together, sent it along to the higher-ups…and it ended up being edited to wrong, just like my Panthers articles used to be. It’s a borderline-infuriating experience, leaving your presentation in someone else’s hands and having them fix things that weren’t wrong…almost enough to make a guy want to post something unnecessarily long on a blog no one reads!
But anyone can TELL you why this is a bad thing (though, really, I’m not sure who else would)…but it’s another thing entirely to SHOW you. So, without further ado, I give you the best PowerPoint presentation you’ll ever see. Get your tissues ready now, people, because I assume you’ll be crying and/or jerking it to this thing by Slide 3.