Wednesday, June 13, 2012

PowerPoint Abuse

Megan Hustad has a good article at about PowerPoint abuse.   In the article, Warren Berger, design expert and author of Glimmer, argues that speakers use Powerpoint as a crutch.  It deflects the audience's attention away from the speaker, which is something many presenters actually prefer.  Berger argues that PowerPoint isn't the problem; the way people use it is the issue.  Speakers talk to the slides, rather than engaging interactively with the audience.  That lack of audience engagement harms a speaker's ability to persuade, influence, and impact.

Terri Sjodin,  author of Small Message, Big Impact, makes the argument that bullet points don't help the audience understand cause and effect.  A persuasive argument draws connections; it explains how and why one factor influences another.  Hustad ends the article with a story from the creators of South Park.  The story reinforces the notion that we have to draw connections when making a presentation.   The creators explain how they put "story beats" together: "We can take these beats, which are basically the beats of your outline, and if the words 'and then' belong between those beats, you're fucked, basically. You've got something pretty boring. What should happen between every beat that you've written down is either the word 'therefore' or 'but.' So it's not this happens and then this happens. Instead, it's this happens therefore this happens. Or this happens but this happens also, therefore something else happens."

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