Presentations succeed or fail based on their quality relevance and integrity of their content. At a minimum, the presentation format should not harm the content. Yet Tufte, a retired professor of design at Yale University, notes audiences absorb information at higher rates than those presented in the typical PowerPoint Presentation.
For serious presentations, he says, it is useful to replace PowerPoint sides with paper handouts showing words, numbers, data, graphics and images. Presentations should reflect good teaching. Communicate core ideas with explanation, content and credible authority.
There is no question that PowerPoint is an aide to those presenters who are inept or extremely disorganized. These people should learn that if they cannot summarize their point in a single sentence. If not, they should do themselves and their audiences a favor by declining the invitation to speak.
For the rest, reliance on this software crutch gives the speaker a false sense of doing well and for audiences to pretend they are listening.
As Tufte concludes, this little dance punctuates the question, "Why are we having this meeting?"
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