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PowerPoint ban: Swiss political party wants to outlaw the software

PowerPoint ban? The software is boring employees and costing companies billions in lost work, say the brains behind the Anti-Power Point Party. Could a PowerPoint ban take off?

By Matthew Shaer / July 6, 2011

PowerPoint ban? Well, if the folks over at the Anti-Power Point Presentation Party have their way, PowerPoint will be thrown out the door in favor of the much more effective flip-chart, shown here.

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Few of us truly love PowerPoint, the extremely-accessible and infamously-bland presentation software published by Microsoft. But then again, few of us dislike the program enough to start a political party dedicated to a PowerPoint ban and freeing the world from its insidious grip. That's right, folks – earlier this week, a band of Swiss citizens gathered under the banner of the Anti-Power Point Party, or APPP, in hopes of "decreasing the number of boring presentations worldwide."

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"I have an operating principle that always helps me: I don't want to be right, I only want the best result," APPP founder Matthias Poehm writes in a (mostly grammatically correct) statement. "Over 14 years of public speaking training I have noticed that the use of Flip-chart beats PowerPoint in 95 of 100 cases. This is not wishful thinking on my part but proven experience." So: PowerPoint out, flip chart in.

Poehm stresses that he does not necessarily hate PowerPoint. But is serious about the APPP, which he sees as a viable way to draw attention to the nascent movement. Attendees of PowerPoint presentations are often later made to feel that their presence was "futile," Poehm notes (correctly). Moreover, he says, because PowerPoint presentations keep employees away from their desks, real fiscal harm is often inflicted upon employers.

"The Party calculated that hourly wages of the attendants alone result in suffering an annual economic damage of 350 billion Euros [$500 billion] worldwide," reads the APPP statement. Poehm may know of what he speaks – having worked as a public-speaking trainer for more than a decade (hat tip to TG Daily for that bit of info), he has doubtless watched thousands of shell-shocked workers' faces turn gray with ennui.

But isn't the whole anti-PowerPoint thing really a quixotic undertaking? Not necessarily. "Poehm's mission may seem hopeless – but it's anything but," notes Emma Woolacott of TG Daily. "The Swiss are very keen on their referendums, and if Poehm can muster 100,000 signatures, he can get one called. Voters would then have the ability to ban the use of PowerPoint throught the country." Democracy! It's awesome.

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