This is a terrific piece. I admit to harboring extreme prejudice about PowerPoint – it's a communication tool for people who haven’t learned to communicate properly. Or it’s a classroom tool – but most of the world is not, narrowly speaking, a classroom.
-- Heather Hurlburt, executive director at National Security Network
At KNP, we make it our business to rail against power point frequently, though our complaints are somewhat different from those in the article. Our favorite is the "Move the Period" method of powerpoint creation, where the presenter writes out everything they want to say, and then moves the period from the end of each sentence to the beginning and rechristens is a "bullet point." The author then reads the presentation to the audience, who read each slide for themselves when it comes up and then attend to their blackberries while the presenter catches up. We teach clients how to present with powerpoint, because they will be expected to, but we often teach it without using powerpoint ourselves. That's not to say slides can't be used well, they absolutely can. Powerpoint just doesn't encourage the most effective strategies.
-- John Neffinger, partner at KNP Communications
To avoid insulting or condescending to your audience, your PowerPoint must complement and supplement -- never repeat -- the words coming out of your mouth. It should never take the focus from you for more than a moment. Dare to be minimal.-- Alan Perlman, communications consultant in Highland Park, IL
In school (pre-PowerPoint), I learned that a good outline contains complete sentences. In fact, you could get the essence of a completed paper by looking at its outline. Have you ever seen a PowerPoint presentation whose slides you could decipher without the help of a voiceover? The decks I have seen are full of arrows, boxes, clouds, stock illustrations, pie charts, graphs and bullet points. They are full of distractions and template tricks. They have everything except a coherent story. You certainly need more than fifteen seconds to take in any given slide's message, and yet the presenter rarely keeps to a slide longer than that. I've often thought that if the slide were kept up long enough to study, the audience would see it was devoid of any fleshed-out thinking. Maybe devoid of any real content.
-- Barbara Finkelstein, producer of Bookpod [www.bookpod.org], a weekly podcast about writers
"Hypnotizing chickens" -- that made me laugh.
-- John Herr, speechwriter in Washington, D.C.