The Philosophy of PowerPoint

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  • The Philosophy of PowerPoint
  • Premier Icon Pook
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    I’m a strong believer that you can’t blame the hammer for a nail going in bent.

    Powerpoint is just a tool. It is just a tool. A very powerful tool if used correctly.

    Premier Icon jam bo
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    I do quite a few presentations. I still use powerpoint but I never have any text on my slides now, just pictures and graphics.

    bullet points should be banned.

    rusty90
    Member

    If used correctly PPT can be great but it can also be torture.
    Like the HR presentation we had this week where the presenter read out each slide, very, very slowly. To an senior audience including 3 PhDs who just loved being treated like illiterate imbeciles.

    Premier Icon binners
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    Every time anyone says the word Powerpoint, a little part of me dies

    m360
    Member

    I’m not introducing this to flame a MS v Apple debate in any way but…

    In terms of presentations and PowerPoint, I think most people could learn a lot from watching Apple’s Keynote speeches. THAT is how to do a presentation IMO.

    we use it to provide 100+ slides of unitelligible nonsense so that if anybody kills themselves at work our arses are covered.

    Fantastic product

    Premier Icon zilog6128
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    Every time anyone says the word Powerpoint, a little part of me dies

    Is that because it means the client is going to email you their own “print ready” artwork, which will be A4 size containing lo-res JPEGs no matter how big or in what proportions the final print actually needs to be?

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
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    binners – Member

    Every time anyone says the word Powerpoint, a little part of me dies
    I think that’s true for anyone in the design industry.
    Horrific.

    brooess
    Member

    ppt would be very effective if only people were trained how to use it properly, but I’ve never worked for a company that was willing to make this investment.

    I wrote a presentation once in which each slide was a headline with the key point and an image which filled the rest of the slide. It went down very well and I got the job.

    BUT – finding the right images and organising my thoughts ready to present (because I couldn’t just read off the slide) took a long time. I could do this because this was my own time as it was a job interview. I’ve not had a single manager at work who I think would have the wisdom and intelligence to let me take that long in prepping a presentation. I’d be accused of being slow and perfectionist…

    Gary_M
    Member

    To an senior audience including 3 PhDs who just loved being treated like illiterate imbeciles.

    Oh the irony.

    Premier Icon somouk
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    I use power points a lot to deliver complex information covering quite in depth subjects but they are used along side an ISPEC which details everything the presenter says. The power point is largely an infographic for the people who don’t cope well listening to the presenter and ensures they don’t miss the key points.

    If you ever do a teaching qualification these days they go in to a lot about the different types of learners and room layout etc. Powerpoint is just one of the tools you can use to engage different audiences.

    rusty90
    Member

    To an senior audience including 3 PhDs who just loved being treated like illiterate imbeciles.

    Oh the irony. Congratulations. You have spotted the deliberate mistake inserted in order to maintain audience awareness 🙂

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
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    Those of us who are either on the delivering or receiving end of lectures and presentations may be interested in this article from the Guardian about PowerPoint.

    I found it riveting, and while it corresponded with many of my own intuitions about the problems with using PowerPoint, it also raised some very interesting ideas I had not considered, especially concerning causality. Who knew a basic Microsoft product that we pretty much all just take for granted could present such issues. ❗

    Well worth the read.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    Congratulations. You have spotted the deliberate mistake inserted in order to maintain audience awareness

    That and anyone who feels the need to mention they have one generally needs the important things explaining twice – like what push or pull means on doors. They also need slapped occasionally in case they believe their own hype…

    and yes Powerpoint is a tool, worse still are those who hope to fix it’s problems by using a new flashy alternative (prezzi etc) and thinking that’s the problem with being unable to present fixed.

    and to add for Uni lecturers I guess not as many recall just how abysmal the ones were who just showed up with the roll of acetate from 5 years ago and scrolled/read it for an hour

    Premier Icon jimmy
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    ppt would be very effective if only people were trained how to use it properly, but I’ve never worked for a company that was willing to make this investment

    I once went for a job “interview” with an agency for a big bank in London – it was in their presentation department, basically building powerpoint slides for big wigs. I’d never had any training but from very brief use of ppt it wasn’t hard to achieve the results in the test. I didn’t hear back so thought I’d failed and in the meantime gave up on London (fortunately – it didn’t take long). I eventually got a call as a position had come up and its a slight regret I never took it. I reckon it would have been relatively interesting and creative, certainly in comparison to what I ended up doing. 15 years later I realise that these jobs still exist where I work now and am sorely tempted to make enquiries.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
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    and to add for Uni lecturers I guess not as many recall just how abysmal the ones were who just showed up with the roll of acetate from 5 years ago and scrolled/read it for an hour

    (ahem)

    I give my students almost complete slidesets in advance. Quite a lot of text on there too

    … and I don’t care !

    I tried really sparse slides just with titles but lost count of the number of times in an hour I’d have to repeat stuff so that they could copy it verbatim

    Then I tried delivering the sparse slides with the promise that a full slideset would follow afterwards. No better.

    Now I give them the words (plus a bit of extra reading) in advance and then shove up the slides and talk around the subject. They have the facts in front of them and I explain the context. I can’t claim it’s perfect, and lots of folk tell me it’s not the way to do it but there’s only so much room for creativity when you need them to assimilate a load of new information.

    The alternative is to record my presentations and put them up for retrieval later but I think that’s spoiling the little **** a bit too much (- and my agent says to hold out for the big money)

    Much prefer smaller groups but there you go – that’s not what they pay me to do

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    giving them the material is great these were the ones who expected you to copy down what they read (especially as it was smudged) in a monotone delivery while trying not to impale your head on your pen.

    I find the guardian article a little smug anyway,

    I still remember the best lecture I ever attended. It was part of a joint series offered by the English and philosophy departments in my first term at university and, given that the subject was

    is very different to trying to convey a heap of information in science/tech/engineering.

    When I teach courses we give notes for people to annotate as they go, add in things and it does save them spending all their time trying to copy down whats on the screen.

    There’s a world of difference between a presentation and a lecture. They are not the same things.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    yep and the article references lectures…

    Edit

    They are both means in which you try and engage with an audience and to convey the information you have to them, in many ways they are the same thing and people lecturing could learn a lot from those presenting and vice versa. The content drives the best method of delivery, some great philosophical ideas based topic requires a very different approach to communicating a change in operating procedure and a new method of working on a technical job.

    There’s a world of difference between a presentation and a lecture. They are not the same things.

    This is very true. My wife rarely gives me a presentation……

    Premier Icon binners
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    Every time anyone says the word Powerpoint, a little part of me dies

    I think that’s true for anyone in the design industry.

    Horrific.

    I’m seeing the words….

    I’m seeing the words….

    clip art!

    😥

    Yet a large number of posters are regailing us with presentation stories Mike.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    which goes to show that nobody reads the subject matter linked and just spouts off whatever they have a story about…. think that sums a lot of things up

    It’s probably Microsoft’s presentation software, Powerpoint, that’s confused them. I suppose there’s no reason why a lecturer can’t use it, but as the author pointed out a Powerpoint free lecture was extremely memorable and enjoyable.

    flatfish
    Member

    Has anybody used Videoscribe?
    Whats the verdict on it?

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    Same as anything else I guess if you can’t do a good presentation in PowerPoint changing the tool won’t help.

    I disagree, replace Powerpoint with your mouth and you’ll give a very good presentation, which I believe is what the author is talking about.

    Spin
    Member

    We had a student teacher in a few years back. The course tutor had told them all that they must not use powerpoint in lessons because it was bad practice and that they must use Prezi or some other package instead.

    The result? All her lessons fell into the exactly same traps that people always point out with powerpoint (big blocks of text etc) just in a slightly more modern, whooshy transition sort of way.

    It’s not powerpoint that is the problem, it’s lack of presentation skills.

    dragon
    Member

    I’m in the PP is a tool category, I’ve been to some very interesting lectures where it was used. Unfortunately most are however cr*p. I was always told that if a presentation was say 1 hour you’d need 9 to prepare, reality is most don’t do that.

    Spin
    Member

    I disagree, replace Powerpoint with your mouth and you’ll give a very good presentation, which I believe is what the author is talking about.

    That very much depends on what you are trying to convey and to whom.

    Premier Icon binners
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    Same as anything else I guess if you can’t do a good presentation in PowerPoint changing the tool won’t help.

    And yet it has set the benchmark so breathtakingly low, that seeing a powerpoint that doesn’t actually make you want to ram a phillips headed screwdriver into your ear with massive force, is still considered a turn-up for the books.

    That applies to Microsoft products all over I suppose though.

    There strapline should always have been: Mediocre is the best you can possibly expect, but even thats probably beyond it, so why bother?

    poly
    Member

    The alternative is to record my presentations and put them up for retrieval later but I think that’s spoiling the little **** a bit too much (- and my agent says to hold out for the big money)

    I don’t understand why universities don’t do more of this. 98% of lectures are not interactive. Students could watch them at their own pace, pause, replay bits they didn’t understand etc. By avoiding you standing up every year to say the same thing to a different bunch of people you would be available to actually do things that help them with understanding – like tutorials, or workshops.

    They could probably save space (and maybe staff) as well as freeing up time for accademic research. Altogether it seems like it would be a winner for everyone.

    Very few topics that can’t be conveyed effectively using the rich language we call English without having to resort to pictures. I stopped with pictures in my reading material years ago. Powerpoint should be considered a last element used that helps to embellish the oral presentation and not be the presentation.

    P-Jay
    Member

    I **** hate PPT, I’ve suffered a few decent ones in my life, but hundreds of self-indulgent wanks of presentations when they’ve clearly spent days building it and it taken over the point.

    For me they fall into 2 camps, the first when the guy just puts up a couple of words as a header then waffles out the detail for an hour – they’re not too bad as they give you a target to stare at whilst daydreaming.

    The worst ones through is when they throw up the entire presentation so it becomes like ‘reading with teacher’ as we all have to follow along, my over riding thought is usually that if they can put it all down ‘on paper’ then why do I have to listen to it?

    Worse still, after 4 hours of listening to 20 mins of useful information I’ll often ask if there’s a hand-out, “oh I’ll send you the PowerPoint” – well I won’t be suffering that again.

    Personally though, IMO 90% of meetings are pointless and incredibly wasteful – if it’s a one-way presentation you don’t need to drag 40 people to the same place to hear it – put it down in words and email that bitch out – if it’s a ‘real’ meeting where people meet up to discus a problem to try to come up with a collective solution you don’t need PowerPoint – but in my experience 90% of ‘meetings’ are really presentations.

    Premier Icon StirlingCrispin
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    If only Abraham Lincoln had Powerpoint:

    The Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation
    http://norvig.com/Gettysburg/

    Premier Icon binners
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    I bloody cursed myself by commenting on this thread. I’ve been lucky enough to have no dealings with powerpoint for ages. Well I’ve just been landed with sorting someones dogs dinner of a Powerpoint presentation out. Actually aren’t they ALL just a dogs dinner. Bearing in mind this is for a presentation to the board of a multinational company, produced by an otherwise intelligent person, it contains:

    1. Clipart. Lots of clipart. A depressing amount of ****ing clipart. Mostly meaningless, and utterly irrelevant. Apparently illustrating god only knows what?
    2. Random images dragged off Google. All lo res and absolutely awful. Obviously. Again… mostly meaningless, and utterly irrelevant. Apparently illustrating god only knows what?
    3. Both these elements ‘placed’ within the document with all the precision of a gibbon with a pritt stick
    4. Comic Sans
    5. More random fonts in random primary colours
    Some OF the THE TYPE IN RANDOm caps. Some NOT. All in bold and REALLY BIG
    6. Logos. REALLY, REALLY BIG LOGOS

    Oh joy! Think I’ll just throw it in a pond and start from scratch again. 😥

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    exactly binners the software made them do it, it literally forced them into it. Shit people are shit.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
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    Some advice:
    http://www.pechakucha.org/

    Reading the contents out is ****ing stupid. We left school a while back.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 55 total)

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