Execs stressed to a point

Most professionals working in IT have, at some stage, been "PowerPointed" to death. But according to a new survey released yesterday, even those giving the presentations resent the entire process.

The online poll of 382 respondents, conducted by Zommerang, reported 36 percent of executives find board presentations "tedious", with 24 percent "dreading when they come around".

Respondents cited presentation preparations as time-consuming and stressful with 45 percent noting it takes more than an hour to convert data from spreadsheets to an appropriate format, while 34 percent work throughout the night in preparation.

Accor IT manager Lyall Dawson said presentations are often misrepresented, are biased and are extracts from previous works.

"They [display an] artist impression of a service or product... which is often the epitome of misrepresentation," he said.

"It puts an agenda into fact, which varies depending on the presenter. You can see the segments of previous presentations come through [in new works]."

An IT manager, who requested anonymity, agreed with Dawson, adding that designing presentations becomes easier once a few have been created.

"They are dry, labourious things; once you have made one, you can copy-paste your life away and then throw it back into the recycling bin," they said.

The survey was commissioned by business intelligence vendor Business Objects which plans to use the results to push software to make presentations more interesting.

The company's vice president of product marketing, Donald MacCormick said presentations are only effective if they are succinct and entertaining.

"Presentations can either lull an audience to sleep or energize them to act," he said, claiming "[our product] can serve as a life raft for people who create countless presentations."

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