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One-Third of Adults Have Snoozed During PowerPoint Presentations

June 24, 2011

Sitting through a PowerPoint presentation appears to be one of the most dreaded office activities: More than 32% of surveyed adults say they have fallen asleep during a PowerPoint presentation and nearly one-quarter (24%) say they would rather give up sex tonight than face another PowerPoint, according to a survey from SlideRocket.

Just how desperate are we to avoid PowerPoints? Roughly one in five surveyed adults (21%) say they would rather to do their taxes than face another PowerPoint presentation and 20% would prefer to visit the dentist.

Below, other findings from SlideRocket's survey of 1,000 US adults who use office software on a daily basis, conducted by IBOPE Zogby International.

Excessive text on slides, boring graphics, lack of analytics, and large file size rank among the top frustrations people have with PowerPoint presentations, SlideRocket finds.

Among those lulled to sleep via PowerPoint, 55% say it has happened at least twice.

Meanwhile, 20% of adults say they have fallen asleep so many times during PowerPoints that they've lost count—with men twice as likely to say so.

But it's tough on both sides: Though some 29% of adults dread watching PowerPoint presentations, 33% of adults dread creating them as well.

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.

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  • by SpencerBroome Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    And another 1/3 lied about not falling asleep during a PowerPoint presentation.

  • by JC Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    everyone has experienced "death by powerpoint" but what's the alternative to showcase information and keep people awake? creative ideas? i've seen people give out books for trivia questions and things like that = other ideas?

  • by Tonya Cardinali Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    @SpencerBroome -- Like! :)
    @JC -- It depends on your event, but here is a great way to keep the audience interactive and reinforce key messages.

  • by Marley Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    I am often asked to create PPT's for the consultants I work with for Webinars and Training classes. I find they use too many slides or too much info per slide. Keep them short and sweet. Interesting charts and graphics, (no clip art please) and add animation if it adds to the slide.

    If your turning out the lights and rambling on, I'm gonna fall asleep too.

  • by Tonya Cardinali Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    Excellent point about the clip art!

  • by Eric from Edison Solutions, llc Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    Supposedly expert presenters jam too much on a slide, read the blinkin' slide (as if we couldn't), and/or apologize for something or other during the presentation. If you are at the mic, then its your responsibility to give value to the audience.

    Ask polling questions.
    Provide case examples.
    Ask for examples.
    Use special effects only when needed.
    Make sure the internet link works.
    Get to the point.
    Pretend you are in the audience for your own presentation. Would you fall asleep?

  • by Molly Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    There is a new powerpoint format that is slightly more interactive and more fun to watch. It take a while to really learn how to put all of the information together, but the professors I keep in touch with told me about it and they were impressed by the group projects that used it.

    I highly suggest that any company who does a lot of powerpoints look into this!

  • by Barb Fri Jun 24, 2011 via web

    This online seminar (from right here at Marketing Profs) is one of the best I've ever seen, and you will never create a PowerPoint presentation the same way again. Check it out, and no, I"m not on the MP payroll:

    The premise is that PP should be like those filmstrips we watched in elementary school. (Those of us who are over 40, anyway.)

  • by Desiree Sun Jun 26, 2011 via web

    @JC - We use an Apple large screen monitor to show videos of our service applcations in tandom with the power point. Turn sound off on the video but use it intermittently as needed during the presentation or as a review after.
    @Molly - may show how to combine these technolgies. I will check it out.

  • by Harry hallman Sun Jun 26, 2011 via web

    Don't blame PowerPoint, blame the presenters.

    PowerPoint doesn't force you to fill the slide with copy and then have you read most of it as part of your speech.

    PowerPoint doesn't force you to take an hour to get across 10 minutes of information.

    PowerPoint doesn't force you to use poor quality unexciting images.

    PowerPoint doesn't make you not use video, audience interaction and other techniques to engage the audience.

    PowerPoint defiantly doesn't make you put off working on your presentation until the day before you make the presentation.

    Don't blame PowerPoint.

  • by Crystal Washington Mon Jun 27, 2011 via web

    I'm with Molly. I've recently converted to Prezi and have had very positive responses from audiences. In fact, I even created a blog post about Prezi a few weeks ago entitled Bye-Bye PowerPoint! Why I ♥ (Love) Prezi!-

  • by JC Mon Jun 27, 2011 via web

    thanks everyone! good ideas ~ as a host of an upcoming educational forum, it's always nice to give the speakers some ideas on how to spruce up their presentations. i want my audience to survive ha!

  • by Derrick Mon Jun 27, 2011 via web

    re: Prezi - And in case you missed it, the snoozing survey stats in this article were brought to by SlideRocket, another alternative to PPT. There's also a learning curve, but I don't think it's as steep as the Prezi curve. Check it out.

  • by Akweli Parker Wed Jun 29, 2011 via web

    Prezi is most definitely an awesome tool ... yet even it can't rescue a lifeless presenter. As Harry Hallman commented here, presentation software is just media. Making sure the message connects is the responsibility of the person making the presentation.

    For those who dread making PowerPoints, you owe it to yourself to get the book Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds, plus Nancy Duarte's books (her firm helped bring to life Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"). I've also put together a few resources, including this video:

  • by Molly Thu Jun 30, 2011 via web

    You will NOT snore when you create a PowerPoint presentation in Snap! Insert Flash, quizzes, record a video of yourself, etc. Only $99 compared to Prezi which I believe is priced around $150 and Snap is way cheaper than other tools like this.

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