Sunday, October 12, 2003

#26 Powerless and pointless

Joe Branin, Director of the Ohio State University Libraries, gave a PowerPoint presentation in March 2002 which includes some wonderful photographs of the library, past and present. I have no idea what he said, but the pictures are terrific. (By that I mean, I didn't hear it, I saw it on the web.) In 1913 they really knew how to provide readers, scholars and students with awesome spaces.

I dread PowerPoint presentations. Taking a class in how to do it, which I did in 2000, is even worse. The presentations are deadly to sit through, and even worse to read in the handouts which are copies of what is putting you to sleep on the screen. But how awful to try to plow your way through them on-line! You have no idea what the speaker said.

Give me an animated speaker, a good hand-out to follow, and maybe some clever cartoons or photos on the screen, if you just have to have something techie in the room.

Wired magazine recently agreed with me in “PowerPoint is evil” in the September, 2003 article. “The practical conclusions are clear. PowerPoint is a competent slide manager and projector. But rather than supplementing a presentation, it has become a substitute for it. Such misuse ignores the most important rule of speaking: Respect your audience.”

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