The Problem with PowerPoint — is US!
I have been a proponent of the “Presentation 2.0” style as a generic term and concept since attending the PodCamp Pittsburgh 2 in 2007. Â In that PodCamp we heard from Chris Brogan who reminded us that the power of the presentation slides was to emphasize what the speaker was saying, not to take your attention off the speaker.
We don’t like PowerPoint and we don’t like presentations. Â But as much as we want to blame the tool we find we cannot leave this crutch behind. Â Perhaps it is because we do not see it as a tool that assists in our delivering content but rather as a surrogate, a stand-in, Â so that we aren’t the ones being observed, but rather it is our slides. Â Too often we expect (or are required) to have our presentations “stand alone” or worse “speak for themselves” (I say worse, because when given this mission it rarely actually means including the voice of the presenter, but rather that the written words must contain all the thoughts.) Â Yes, we cannot leave the world of wordy slides.
Chris Brogan at the time reminded us of the importance of “big pictures” (real images) that convey the emotion, or the sense of the topic discussed, but that we as the speaker should deliver the content. Â He also shared that we should remember that presentations are about the audience and our connecting with the audience. Â If we are to connect, we cannot have them getting lost in reading the words (the many, many, often forced to be tiny, words…) on the screen.
Here is another take on just that very thing:
So my question for you is this: Â What sort of presentation do you prefer? Do you want all the information laid out before you in verbose slides, ensuring you have all the information at your fingertips for later, or are you instead a person who learns best by listening and asborbing?
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As an assignment in many of my classes, I have my students prepare a Pecha Kucha. 20 slides; 20 seconds per slide. That’s all they get. I add to the assignment that they may not use more than 7 words per slide unless they are pulling a specific quote out of a resource, and then they may have only one of those.
I demonstrate in class with how I use slides.
Less is more IMHO.
PowerPoint is essentially a visual tool so the more you use visual content as opposed to text content on a slide the more effective your presentation is likely to be. Showing relationships between concepts through images and animation is probably the only effective way of using PowerPoint.