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Are You Ditching Powerpoint?

Garr of Presentation Zen points us to a controversial article, and discusses what it means for his “Presentation Zen method”.
Presentation Zen

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Last week an article appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald entitled Researcher points finger at PowerPoint generated quite a stir.

The article highlighted findings by researchers from the University of New South Wales, including John Sweller who developed the Cognitive Load Theory back in the ’80s.

One of the findings mentioned in the article: it is more difficult to process information if it is coming at you both verbally and in written form at the same time.

Since people can not read and listen well at the same time, the reporter suggested, then this may mean “the death of the PowerPoint presentation.”

Should we be ditching these infamous presentation tools for something else? Are our brains not able to take in all this information at once? Should we go back to blackboards and whiteboards? Butchers paper?

Bert Decker has this to say…
Create Your Communications Experience: Controversial New PowerPoint Research

PowerPoint (or Keynote) is a great tool to AMPLIFY what we are saying, but not serve as our scripts, or substitute for our own communication experience when we are speaking.

What can we learn from this information? Slides full of text don’t work. Images, charts, graphs, and symbols do work.

Reinforce your spoken words with appropriate imagery or supporting visual information. And lay off on the bullet points.

If you need help with this, check out the two sites quoted above, Presentation Zen has many awesome examples of slides that are effective and have minimal text. If you’re looking for images to use, check out FlickrStorm. By using the advanced search option, you can search through creative commons licensed material, so it’s easy to ensure you are not breaching copyright.

How do you do powerpoint? Do you have to sit through boring hour long, bulletpoint presentations? Organize a presentation technique seminar for you company, get an expert in save the world from bad powerpoint!


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Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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