Posts Tagged ‘PowerPoint’

Brevity is the Soul of PowerPoint

February 22, 2012

Brevity is the Soul of PowerPoint

At last, a study that proves what you already knew about PowerPoint:

“Slide presentations as speech suppressors: When and why learners miss oral information,”  Christof Wecker, Computers & Education (2012) [abstract]

There’s a nice summary by Eric Horow, but here it is in bullet points:

  • If your slides aren’t brief, you should
  • A)  Speak without them, or
  • B) Put the entire presentation on slides and don’t say a word.

We’ve always liked Guy Kawasaki’s rule of thumb: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font.

What happens when your slides aren’t concise?


Will the Swiss Ban PowerPoint?

July 10, 2011

Will the Swiss Ban PowerPoint?

PowerPoint. It’s ubiquitous. It’s also evil and makes us stupid. PowerPoint has even played a role in our disastrous military policy. The constraints of its format have shackled our minds, blinkered our perceptions and misdirected our actions.

A new political party in Switzerland seeks a ban on the use of Powerpoint and similar slideware. International response has been so great that this has become a worldwide movement.

Sign up today.  The meeting you save may be your own.


Tonight: Perfect DC Entertainment

May 13, 2010

 Tonight: Perfect DC Entertainment

Tonight, after your 9 to 5, go straight to Wonderland Ballroom for a session of PowerPoint Karaoke. Starting at 6:30 PM, cubicle slaves will ad-lib presentations illustrated by a display of random PowerPoint slides. Sounds like a typical meeting at work, except for the booze. Will there be donuts? Go and find out.

PowerPoint Karaoke
Thursday, May 13, 2010
6:30 PM — 8:30 PM

Wonderland Ballroom
1101 Kenyon St, NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 232-5263

Presented by I Hate My 9 to 5

Psst: You can sign up early.


Bullet Points

April 28, 2010

Bullet Points

“‘PowerPoint makes us stupid,’ Gen. James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. (He spoke without PowerPoint.) Brig. Gen. H. R. McMaster, who banned PowerPoint presentations when he led the successful effort to secure the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar in 2005, followed up at the same conference by likening PowerPoint to an internal threat.

‘It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control,’ General McMaster said in a telephone interview afterward. ‘Some problems in the world are not bullet[point]-izable.'”

“We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint,” Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times. 


Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

November 19, 2009

Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered a brief speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

If you missed the meeting, the PowerPoint is here.


Slides via Peter Norvig.

FindingDulcinea has an excellent post on the importance of this event.

More on PowerPoint here.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


November 8, 2009


Let’s take a meeting about meeting presentations. A short one. Here’s the take-away:

A slide show is not a presentation.

Q: Says who?

A: Edward R. Tufte, professor emeritus of political science, computer science and statistics, and graphic design at Yale and Dr. T.X. Hammes (Colonel USMC, retired), among others.

Q. I have another meeting in ten minutes. Can you summarize that for visual learners? 

A. Here’s an evil slide by … Darth Vader. The cognitive style of PowerPoint really messed up Abe Lincoln’s Gettysburg meeting. Engineer-turned-comic Don McMillan explains “How NOT to Use PowerPoint.” And beware of Death By PowerPoint.

Q. Does anyone have rules for using slideware like PowerPoint?

A. Plenty of folks. People who do presentation training often have complex systems, but venture capitalist and author Guy Kawasaki has a good rule of thumb: 10 slides, 20 minutes, 30-point font.

Meeting adjourned.


Image (“Portrait with PowerPoint, after Pieter Jansz van Asch”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.