The Universal Language of Bullets

Day 012 – August 3, 2011

This is one of those rare posts where I will actually document a (quasi-)similarity between my previous life in the United States and my current life in Peru.

Brace yourself.

Today’s big assignment on my jam-packed calendar of being unemployed was to attend the orientation session of my children’s School (yes, the same School I wrote about earlier with the Uniform Racket). On the schedule was the opportunity to learn all about the educational system of an international school.

Side Note: This School touts itself as international in flavor as almost half the student body does not hail from Peru. Those of you with good math backgrounds can deduce from my previous sentence this means that over half the student population is from Peru and not native English speakers. What this heralds for our trio of children is that they will have the opportunity to learn Spanish in a social setting. “Opportunity” may be too mild a word because if they want to make friends with Peruvian children or have them throw their ball back on the playground, our kids will have to use Spanish. An opportunity usually denotes an element of a choice, whereas our threesome of kids will have no option but to use the local language to communicate. Which is fine with us because one of our three goals for our kids in this living abroad adventure is to expand their ability to speak a foreign language. We believe that being bilingual, among other things, is an excellent skill that can only help their future employment prospects.

Boy, that was a long Side Note.

Back to the School’s Orientation and the first item on the agenda was to listen to a presentation about the School. Actually, that last sentence should read “listen to multiple presentations”. Since these were presentations given to a large crowd, that could only mean that one thing (cue the scary music here)…and office drones reading this world-wide are already starting to feel the hair on the back of their knees stand on edge.

The presentations were given using PowerPoint.


Here I was, out of work, living south of the Equator, and thousands of miles from home, and I was still seeing PowerPoint presented poorly.

From an over-abundance to bullet points, to presenters simply reading the text that we as the audience were smart enough to read on our own, to that bane of all homo sapiens-related existence…the mission statement, this PowerPoint presentation had it all, or to paraphrase The Bard, it was…

…full of bullet points and animation, / Signifying nothing

Forget Esperanto. Perhaps PowerPoint, flaws and all, is becoming the world’s lingua franca.

That thought should make every rational being shudder.

About sinpolaris

sinpolaris is the psuedonym of a guy who likes to write.

Posted on November 12, 2011, in Peru, Similar and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I know when I was at school, presenting was the last thing I wanted to do. So a whole generation of adults have grown up fearing (yet knowing that they have to) standing up and speaking. PowerPoint (and I use that for all generic slide generating and presenting software) has become a crutch, and a victim of abuse, both in how it is used and how people blame it afterwards.

    I’d like to see people learn how to use it properly. It’s not the car, its the driver. It isn’t the gun, it’s the shooter.

    • In, by my rough estimate, the over 1,000 PowerPoint presentations I have had the misfortunate of sitting through, I can say that there has only been one (1) where I saw PowerPoint used effectively. Where it was used as a compliment to the presentation, and not as a crutch. It was done by Bob Martin and it was explaining the Agile software development methodoology. 1 out of 1,000.

      • No question people do it badly. And I wouldn’t mind agreeing with your estimate given how many people use presentation software, and how many are bad presenters. The big problem (inmho) is that people are taught that there is one right way to present, and there are a lot of blogs popping up (mine included) about how to present and use PowerPoint. There is no one right way. You have to start by understanding who you are, how you learn, how you communicate. You have to understand the context you are working in – is this over the phone, in a small setting, in a large theater. You have to understand what you are trying to do, pitch, socialize an idea, teach, report. You have to understand what the audience is there for, and what they are interested in. Once you know that, then you can actually sit down and write your presentation. There is no one right way, and too many people are worried

        So they don’t do a good job.

  2. Cameron Hendricks

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