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SIGIA-L Mail Archives: RE: [Sigia-l] Smackdown: Edward Tufte vs. Don Norman

RE: [Sigia-l] Smackdown: Edward Tufte vs. Don Norman

From: Eric Reiss (elr_at_e-reiss.com)
Date: Fri May 27 2005 - 10:43:28 EDT


Laurie wrote:
I think that PowerPoint has done more to fracture communication in
the world of business than just about anything else – IM included.

To wit: working for clients in which *everything* must be placed into
a.ppt. Any content had to fit into the context of that slide. Any
description, rationale, ...anything... had to be explained in the
context of bullet points.

And I write:
Laurie has hit the nail on the head – businesses that encourage (or
even demand) the misuse of bullets are the real problem, not the
program.

If a company insists on using a hammer as a flyswatter, they’re going
to end up with a lot of broken windows and holes in the walls. I find
both hammers and flyswatters useful – but for different things.

Until last year, our company never had a presentation PowerPoint. But
many places (particularly in the U.S.), meeting up without a
PowerPoint was like showing up without shoes. It just wasn’t done. So
despite my objections, our corporate wardrobe now includes both shoes
and PPT – but with virtually no bullets.

Try eliminating bullets when you write a presentation; it reminds me
of Demosthenes learning to speak with stones in his mouth. And the
end result is almost always far better for the effort.

Next week, there’s a PowerPoint-free conference in Copenhagen. So how
can I show the crowd a good photo to back up a point I’d like to
make? I haven’t figured that one out yet. Although I applaud the
initiative, I think the baby got thrown out with the bathwater.

Lesson? Use the right tool for a particular job. Sometimes that means
bullets. Sometimes it doesn’t. PowerPoint works both ways and is a
lot easier to coordinate than an overhead projector, Kodak Carrousel
or posterboards.

Cheers,
Eric

e-reiss & associates
copenhagen, denmark
www.e-reiss.com

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