Powerpoint is a very powerful and effective presentation tool, although it does have its limitations and issues. Through the use of comedy this lesson aims to look at two presentations and discuss ideas connected with both the effective and the ineffective use of Powerpoint In addition to appreciating the comedy try to look beyond this and see what each presenter does well or not so well.

Listening (1) – Death by Powerpoint by Don McMillan. 

Don McMillan - Check Your Answers Here.

Putting every single word on the slide and then reading it.
Slides are overcrowded, wordy, and boring.
Information spills over onto the next slide.
Not spell checking their presentation.
Overusing bullet points.
Bad colour schemes that clash.
Too many slides.
Presenting too much data in a slide.
Over-complicated data graphs.
Too many confusing animations - 'Pointless Motion'
Use of font projects who you are (!)

Listening (2) – Modern Life is Goodish by Dave Gorman


Dave Gorman - Check Your Answers Here

Dave Gorman is speaking about online scams and he introduces this by showing an email that purportedly came from Facebook about changing his password. He showed some hints that the email was likely to be fake:
1. Bad use of English ('You can your new password in attached document.')
2. Bad spelling ('Thanls' and the attachment 'Faceboook_.zip')

However, he then suggests that it could be legitimate because it was sent on 8th June 2016, and earlier the same day he had been reading an article in the Daily Express which had reported that if Facebook or Netflix sent a password reset email it was not a scam. He then questions whether the email might have been genuine before stating that criminals would not take time off from scamming if there were real reset emails being sent.

Finally he points out the word 'probably' which appears in the first sentence of the newspaper article and completely negates the headline. He then uses two further examples to illustrate this.

© 2016, Richard Horton Omega Support Services


Warm Up


1. Do you use Powerpoint? If yes what for?

2. Do you like Powerpoint? Why (not)?

3. What (if any) are the limitations of Powerpoint?

4. Make a list of all of the mistakes you can think of that people make when using Powerpoint. Ensure that you write it down as you will need to compare this in the next task.

Listening 1

Watch the first video – Death by Powerpoint by Don McMillan. Make a list of all of the mistakes he mentions that people make when using Powerpoint. Then check your answers (the answer key can be located directly below the video) Please do not concentrate on his presentation style as ironically, despite the material he is presenting, it is actually to a very high standard.

Now compare your list to Don McMillan’s list. How many items do you both have? Which additional items (if any) do you have? How many of Don McMillan’s items do you disagree with and why? After watching the video can you think of any other things to add to the list.

Listening 2

Watch the second video – Modern Life is Goodish by Dave Gorman. In your own words paraphrase his message. Write it down so you can compare it to the model answer which can be found directly below his video.

The accuracy of your summary will demonstrate both how effective his communication was and how well you understood him.


Look at how both presenters interacted with their Powerpoint and their audience. For this discussion do not necessarily focus on the comedy element and do not concentrate on how deliberately bad Don McMillan’s Powerpoint was but only on the presenter. What did they do well? Did they do anything badly? What can you learn from their presentation styles and interactions.


Thanks to Dave, and Dave Gorman and Don McMillan for usage of this material which is freely available on YouTube.