Ban Powerpoint… or Not

Cartoon-Down with power point...which one?...The one that makes it too easy to create really bad bullet point presentations...or the one that helps meaningfully illustrate a presentation...the first one...sadly, it doesn't work that way.

The way I see it, Power Point is not a presentation tool.  It is a presentation illustration tool.  And Power Point is designed in a way that leads you toward illustrating a presentation using bullet points.

It can most certainly be used by great presentation illustrators to help support great presentations.  But most of the time, it’s not.  Most researchers and evaluators use the tool the default way, the comfort zone way, resulting in a bad presentation.

So I agree with Jon, it should not be all on Power Point and instead on the presenter to put together a great presentation.

But I also wonder, if we ban powerpoint as Katrina suggests, would it force presenters out of this comfort zone?  Make them think a little bit more about illustration?  Or would we just get the same boring presentations without slide after slide of words?

I know this, and I doubt that Jon would disagree.  Banning power point is not going to stop the great presenter from delivering a great presentation.

From Katrina Park‘s Washington Post article: PowerPoint should be banned. This PowerPoint presentation explains why.

Its slides are oversimplified, and bullet points omit the complexities of nearly any issue. The slides are designed to skip the learning process, which — when it works — involves dialogue, eye-to-eye contact and discussions. Of course PowerPoint has merits — it can help businesses with their sales pitches or let teachers introduce technology into the classroom. But instead of being used as a means for a dynamic engagement, it has become a poor substitute for longer, well-thought-out briefings and technical reports. It has become a crutch.

From Jon Schwabish‘s blog post response: Ban Bad Presenters, Not PowerPoint

Look, I’m not saying that PowerPoint is the greatest software tool in the world. And I’m certainly not arguing that people know how to give great presentations. In fact, I’d argue the opposite, especially amongst the researchers, analysts, and academics with whom I usually hang around. But PowerPoint is not the problem–the failure to recognize that a presentation is a fundamentally different form of communication and should be treated as such is the problem.