Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hypnotizing Chickens

I find myself in sympathy with this New York Times article on PowerPoint. While I do find the program useful when graphic displays are involved, I also believe it is badly overused much to the detriment of an audience's understanding. Though I also understand why presenters like it as an organizing tool, I feel that on net most presentations are better without. I prefer a two page briefing handed out before the presentation starts so that audience members are familiar with complete ideas, rather than bullet points that never give me the impression that ideas feel connected. Bullet points always convey to me a feeling of distinction between ideas and often I feel what needs to be communicated is the links between thoughts, not the distance separating them. It probably isn't surprising to anyone that has looked over this blog that I'd dislike the program, my emphasis on interrelated ideas and multi-causal explanations doesn't fit well with a presentation style that emphasizes discrete points and bullets.

Though the article does bring up one use for PowerPoint that I hadn't fully considered. The military has found at least one use for PowerPoint other than its ability to display graphics, "senior officers say the program does come in handy when the goal is not imparting information, as in briefings for reporters."

I have felt that way about at least a few PowerPoint presentations I have sat through. Trust the military to find ways to weaponize anything.

1 comment:

  1. That's pretty funny that briefings for reporters aren't meant to be informational. Have you seen this?