Posts Tagged “Power Point”
This is an interesting article by Lucy Craft (edited so this blog is not long and rambling). It makes many good points that should be considered when preparing a speech or presentation!
It’s the bane of students, business people and even the military: If you’ve ever yawned through a slideshow, you’re probably familiar with that dreaded malady of modern times, known as “Death by PowerPoint.”
Now, for the long-suffering audience, there’s some good news. Tokyo architects Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein hit on the antidote to presentation overload — a style they dubbed pecha-kucha, Japanese for “chitchat” — and their elegant solution is taking the world by storm.
Dytham and Klein are easygoing by nature, but if there’s one thing they can’t stand it’s slideshows full of hot air. So when the pair staged a forum featuring the work of their architect friends, they laid down one rule as simple as it was extreme.
“The problem with architects is they talk too much. So how could we find a way to stop them? You get passionate about whatever you’re talking about and you go on forever and ever — so we came up with 20 slides, 20 seconds a slide,” he says. He says 10 slides, 10 seconds per slide was too short and 30 slides, 30 seconds per slide was too long.
“We were trying to find a catchy 5 minutes or so for the architect to present,” he says.
With speakers allotted a draconian 6 minutes and 40 seconds each, Dytham and Klein were able to pack 20 speeches — or rather, speechlets — into a single evening. Klein named these curious events after a quaint old Japanese onomatopoeia.
Pecha-Kucha Goes Viral
At first, pecha-kucha (pronounced: peh-CHAKH-cha) was purely local. But then, something strange happened. Without any prompting or publicity, and to the astonishment of its founders, the format went viral.
In just the past three years, the speech events have taken root in hundreds of cities in the U.S. and worldwide, from Amersfoort, Netherlands, to Saragossa, Spain. New cities are added, on average, every 72 hours. Nearly a quarter of a million people every year gather in warehouses, old prisons and forest clearings for pecha-kucha nights — a spectacle that seems to belie the pretenses of the online age.
“People really like to get together physically,” Dytham says. “We forget that on Facebook. They say they’re ‘social networks,’ but they’re not really; they’re anti-social networks. People in a city want to get together and have a chat and a beer. And this was a way to pull people together.”
No Comments »
This article makes a lot of good points! (not power points) Do not put the chickens to sleep!
April 26, 2010
We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint
By ELISABETH BUMILLER
WASHINGTON — Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti.
“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter.
“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat.
“It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,” General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”
Commanders say that behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making. Not least, it ties up junior officers — referred to as PowerPoint Rangers — in the daily preparation of slides, be it for a Joint Staff meeting in Washington or for a platoon leader’s pre-mission combat briefing in a remote pocket of Afghanistan.
Last year when a military Web site, Company Command, asked an Army platoon leader in Iraq, Lt. Sam Nuxoll, how he spent most of his time, he responded, “Making PowerPoint slides.” When pressed, he said he was serious.
General McChrystal gets two PowerPoint briefings in Kabul per day, plus three more during the week. General Mattis, despite his dim view of the program, said a third of his briefings are by PowerPoint.
Commanders say that the slides impart less information than a five-page paper can hold, and that they relieve the briefer of the need to polish writing to convey an analytic, persuasive point. Imagine lawyers presenting arguments before the Supreme Court in slides instead of legal briefs.
Senior officers say the program does come in handy when the goal is not imparting information, as in briefings for reporters.
The news media sessions often last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone still awake. Those types of PowerPoint presentations, Dr. Hammes said, are known as “hypnotizing chickens.”
No Comments »
We are not always “Bashing” Power Point. It has it’s place. Just don’t always default to it. Think…”Do I really need a Power Point presentation to make my point?
From interview with Teresa Taylor, chief operating officer of Qwest:
It’s amazing, there will be eight people in the room and they all have a different answer of what’s going on there. I’ll also say, once we’re clear about what we’re doing: “Does everyone need to be here? If anyone feels like they want to leave right now, that would be fine.” Every once in a while a couple of people will say, “Yeah, I could use this time back,” and they get up and leave.
Q. But you could chew up 10 minutes just going around the table.
A. Sure, I think it’s a good 10 minutes. I really do.
Q. What about presentations?
A. I use a little saying, which is, “Be brief, be bright and be gone.” It’s also not uncommon for me to say, “Why don’t we put the PowerPoint aside for a minute and why don’t you just talk to me?”
Q. What’s the maximum number of PowerPoint slides you want to see?
A. Six. But I actually prefer no PowerPoint. To be honest, I’d rather just talk. A really great meeting, to me, is someone who is just talking to me and might give me a piece of paper or two to support something, but that’s it.
No Comments »
A very interesting and informative article about the use and misuse of PowerPoint by Edward Tufte.
PowerPoint Is Evil
PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely.
By Edward Tufte
Imagine a widely used and expensive prescription drug that promised to make us beautiful but didn’t. Instead the drug had frequent, serious side effects: It induced stupidity, turned everyone into bores, wasted time, and degraded the quality and credibility of communication. These side effects would rightly lead to a worldwide product recall.
Yet slideware -computer programs for presentations -is everywhere: in corporate America, in government bureaucracies, even in our schools. Several hundred million copies of Microsoft PowerPoint are churning out trillions of slides each year. Slideware may help speakers outline their talks, but convenience for the speaker can be punishing to both content and audience. The standard PowerPoint presentation elevates format over content, betraying an attitude of commercialism that turns everything into a sales pitch.
Of course, data-driven meetings are nothing new. Years before today’s slideware, presentations at companies such as IBM and in the military used bullet lists shown by overhead projectors. But the format has become ubiquitous under PowerPoint, which was created in 1984 and later acquired by Microsoft. PowerPoint’s pushy style seeks to set up a speaker’s dominance over the audience. The speaker, after all, is making power points with bullets to followers. Could any metaphor be worse? Voicemail menu systems? Billboards? Television? Stalin?
Particularly disturbing is the adoption of the PowerPoint cognitive style in our schools. Rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials. Elementary school PowerPoint exercises (as seen in teacher guides and in student work posted on the Internet) typically consist of 10 to 20 words and a piece of clip art on each slide in a presentation of three to six slides -a total of perhaps 80 words (15 seconds of silent reading) for a week of work. Students would be better off if the schools simply closed down on those days and everyone went to the Exploratorium or wrote an illustrated essay explaining something.
In a business setting, a PowerPoint slide typically shows 40 words, which is about eight seconds’ worth of silent reading material. With so little information per slide, many, many slides are needed. Audiences consequently endure a relentless sequentiality, one damn slide after another. When information is stacked in time, it is difficult to understand context and evaluate relationships. Visual reasoning usually works more effectively when relevant information is shown side by side. Often, the more intense the detail, the greater the clarity and understanding. This is especially so for statistical data, where the fundamental analytical act is to make comparisons.
Consider an important and intriguing table of survival rates for those with cancer relative to those without cancer for the same time period. Some 196 numbers and 57 words describe survival rates and their standard errors for 24 cancers.
Applying the PowerPoint templates to this nice, straightforward table yields an analytical disaster. The data explodes into six separate chaotic slides, consuming 2.9 times the area of the table. Everything is wrong with these smarmy, incoherent graphs: the encoded legends, the meaningless color, the logo-type branding. They are uncomparative, indifferent to content and evidence, and so data-starved as to be almost pointless. Chartjunk is a clear sign of statistical stupidity. Poking a finger into the eye of thought, these data graphics would turn into a nasty travesty if used for a serious purpose, such as helping cancer patients assess their survival chances. To sell a product that messes up data with such systematic intensity, Microsoft abandons any pretense of statistical integrity and reasoning.
Presentations largely stand or fall on the quality, relevance, and integrity of the content. If your numbers are boring, then you’ve got the wrong numbers. If your words or images are not on point, making them dance in color won’t make them relevant. Audience boredom is usually a content failure, not a decoration failure.
At a minimum, a presentation format should do no harm. Yet the PowerPoint style routinely disrupts, dominates, and trivializes content. Thus PowerPoint presentations too often resemble a school play -very loud, very slow, and very simple.
The practical conclusions are clear. PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it. Such misuse ignores the most important rule of speaking: Respect your audience.
Edward R. Tufte is professor emeritus of political science, computer science and statistics, and graphic design at Yale. His new monograph, The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint, is available from Graphics Press (www.edwardtufte.com).
2 Comments »