Saturday, May 01, 2010

Death by PowerPoint


As I tell my students, colleagues, and anyone who will listen. PowerPoint -- especially when used as intended -- can be the death of useful communication. I learned this -- slowly, I must admit, as I was a real pro at PowerPoint as intended -- from Edward Tufte. I attended a workshop, later got his PowerPoint essay, and now use that as a text in my speaking-intensive classes. Some of the best conversations I have had with students have revolved around his critique, the Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. (At $7 postpaid, this is the best value I know in continuing education and self-improvement for professional people. Pay $7, spend one evening reading it, be a better communicator, and pass it along.)

Elisabeth Bumiller's makes the case even more persuasively in her NY Times article, We Have Met the Enemy and He is PowerPoint. Bad PowerPoints can kill communication. And in a war zone, this cannot be a good thing. Thanks to my friend Brendan for bringing this to my attention. The important thing to notice in the article is that the convoluted diagram shown above, though interesting, is not cited as the main problem.

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