Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Read the manual

RTFM is a technical acronym. Stated politely it means to “read the fraking manual.” I saw a warning label with that basic message yesterday. It was on a battery powered manlift for use in orchards that was displayed at the Fruit Field Day over in Parma, Idaho. (A stepladder might seem cheaper, until you consider that workers spend about 30% of their time climbing up and down rather than doing useful work). 

Here is the Untrained Operator Hazard warning label. What does this have to do with public speaking? Well, on Monday Dave Paradi reported
preliminary results from his biennial survey of what annoys audiences about PowerPoint presentations. 

The table shows three top answers for his 2011 survey, and his two previous surveys in 2007 and 2009. With one exception, percentages reporting these problems have increased rather than decreased. That means that people aren’t bothering to read up on how to use PowerPoint effectively, although Dave provides lots of advice on how to do so.

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