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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The powerpoint generation

For those who have to endure endless presentations and lectures this proposal by Switzerland's Anti-PowerPoint Party to outlaw PowerPoint presentations.

Matthias Poehm, who founded the party, claims that €350bn could be saved globally each year by ditching what he describes as the scourge of public speaking:

Poehm believes that the software takes people away from their work and teaches them little. "There is a solution," he says. "A flipchart."

On leaving academia seven years ago I vowed that I would never use PowerPoint again. I still speak at conferences, though, and have been known to rant at organisers when asked in advance for my PPT presentation. I inform them that I will be turning up with a set of index cards on which I have jotted down key points, but will not be boring my audience to tears with fiddly slides consisting of flying text, fussy fonts or photo montages.

Call me old-fashioned, but I believe in having a real discussion about ideas as opposed to force-feeding an increasingly sleepy crowd with numerous graphs and bullet points projected on to the nearest wall. Sometimes I wonder why we even bother showing up to hear a colleague elucidate on their thesis, when we are helpfully posted an advance printout of the presentation. As the speaker is building to a crucial statistic, delegates have long finished and are doing the crossword instead.

This may just be an anti-technology thing or soembody with a passion and a bee in his bonnet taking advantage of Switzerland's bizarre political system, but I am sure there are more important issues to take up. Perhaps we will have to put up with annoying powerpoint presentations for some time whilst we devote our energies towards sorting out the economy, education and health instead.
There's nothing wrong with PowerPoint's, just crap ones laden with animations!
There is nothing wrong with PowerPoint presentation in principle, of done properly power point presentations can be very useful. However often PowerPoint presentations will be done badly (mimicking what is being said or an unnecessary blur of animations and sound effects) or when they are not needed at all. Like with most things that are encountered in the work place and academia it is not a ban that is needed, just a proper education of how to use the tool properly.
did anyone seen J Leno on the Tonight Show last nite? An inflatable tie was highlighted the "Headlines" section of the show... feeling bored at some conference or other? Then inflat your inflatable tie and rest your weary head on it and fall fast asleep... cw
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