Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder
Powerpoint Karaoke: Best Practices
Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2007 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.
Danny O'Brien mentioned this concept and tried it out at a conference several months ago. So Leonard and I playtested it at Backup Thanksgiving (photos) at our apartment, with several of our friends. One of them, a hacker with a drama degree from NYU, mentioned that it's similar to acting exercises, which makes sense since this is a species of improv.
Before you play, you should do technical/logistical prepwork and select some Powerpoint slide sets ("decks") for the victims' use.
Technical/logistical: make sure there'll be at least 6 people participating -- 1 host/slidemover/timekeeper, 1 player, at least 4 audience members. I used a kitchen timer where I could set it to count down from some number of minutes. Make sure the video hookup to the laptop/computer works ahead of time.
Slide research: go to slideshare.net and bookmark a variety of decks. Languages the speaker doesn't know are GREAT. Leonard had success doing searches for buzzwords and jargon, but you could do well with art analysis as well. Look for decks that have around 10 or 20 slides each, with clip-art visuals & some text, and for a variety of topics -- not just all Web 2.0 stuff. Avoid:
For play: give each volunteer a time limit. Half as many minutes as there were slides worked for us, and going over 7 minutes got boring. If the slides run out but there's still time, have a Q&A!
Some slides suck in boring ways, but nearly every slide can turn into gold. I boo at on players who completely skip slides without giving at least a joking explanation.
Alternate versions that we didn't try:
And tell me how it goes!
17 Dec 2007, 15:38 p.m.
17 Dec 2007, 15:46 p.m.