a “think about it” challenge PowerPoint as Evil! Mhr324 BusCom Steve Iman, Cal Poly Pomona
About a million are going on right now* * estimate
50% of them boring the heck out of people* *conservative estimate
many of the presentations going on are corrupting decision-making* * think NASA disasters (Challenger, Columbia, winning presentations on Weapons of Mass Destruction
"Imagine a prescription that induces stupidity, turns everyone into bores, wastes time and degrades the quality and credibility of communication. It's called PowerPoint." • – Edward Tufte, Yale Political Scientist, author of "PowerPoint is Evil"
Ppt and the decline of Western Civilization • “Death by bullets” • Ppt bores • Speaker centered non-interactive sales pitch • Ppt corrupts • Cognitive style trivializes content • Serial rat-a-tat precludes dialogue
PowerPoint Thinking Style • Linear, hierarchical thinking unsuited to complex problems. Focusing on 'reasons for' overwhelms analysis of all sides.
PowerPoint Thinking Style • Points proceed at such a pace that logic is hard to test. • The average slide has 40 words, is read in 8 seconds.
PowerPoint Thinking Style • When information is stacked, it is difficult to see the context and evaluate (compare) relationships.
PowerPoint Thinking Style • With PowerPoint, supporting data and documentation are skipped and rarely asked for.
Think about it.. • Can you listen to me AND read slides at the same time? Research says no • We can process visual or verbal streams, but not two verbals at the same time • What is the audience supposed to do with bullet points?
More… on Cognitive Style • Rat-a-tat bullet points give a sometimes false impression of precision and linear logic inadequate for dealing with complex situations involving uncertainty and risk.
More… on Cognitive Style • PowerPoints detail conclusions rather than foster discussion. • Often, conclusions (big bullets) are presented as headlines with supporting points below
More… on Cognitive Style • Points and sub-points provide a medieval hierarchical structure of pinched bureaucratic thinking
Other Aspects.. • Vaguely quantitative terms like "significant" are common and may mean anything from 'detectable' to 'profound'.
Other Aspects.. • Summary graphs are prettied up though often there's little discussion of the context or analysis.
Compare our Traditions • Lincoln 1-5
PowerPoint provides visual reinforcement of your presentation*, but beware.. • The logic and decision-making inadequacies • The lack of involvement of the audience in learning or deciding * (it also helps focus and impress)
Antidotes and Trends • Drop Bullets and minimize text – move text off slides • Focus on imagery to reinforce verbal messages rather than text to compete for attention. • Minimize silly clip art and distracting animations • Segment presentation to smaller chunks, lots of visuals
Antidotes and Trends • Frame questions and launch discussions – demand involvement • Be aware of your ethical responsibilities to not misuse ‘pitch’-style where problems require deliberation of parallel processing • Provide background and context when sharing data