Powerpoint makes us stupid

“PowerPoint makes us stupid,” General James N. Mattis of the Marine Corps, the Joint Forces commander, said this month at a military conference in North Carolina. General Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti”, according to an article in the New York Times.

The slide in case was indeed a colorful resemblance of a highway in Rome during rush hour.

“When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter”, the article continues.

“Despite such tales, “death by PowerPoint,” the phrase used to described the numbing sensation that accompanies a 30-slide briefing, seems here to stay. The program, which first went on sale in 1987 and was acquired by Microsoft soon afterward, is deeply embedded in a military culture that has come to rely on PowerPoint’s hierarchical ordering of a confused world.”

And let’s not forget the closing paragraph: “The news media sessions often last 25 minutes, with 5 minutes left at the end for questions from anyone still awake. Those types of PowerPoint presentations, Dr. Hammes said, are known as “hypnotizing chickens.”

Are you hypnotizing chickens, or are you inspiring?

Full article here.

The need for sharing content – a survey

Throughout the year we visit a lot of conferences, seminar and the like, varying from big and top-end meetings like Blogworld and New Media Expo and SXSW in the Social Media space to more industry specialized events like Digital Pharma, Digital Pharma Europe and DigiPharm for the pharma industry. But we’re still surprized how little of the content is actually being shared. Sure, if you’re there, you can experience it live: great speakers with sometimes even greater stories. But a recap of what has been said when you’re back home? Or what if you weren’t able to attend but still are very intrested to that specific story of Mr X? If you’re lucky, you’ll get the powerpoint slides, but a good Powerpoint presentation doesn’t give you the heart of the story. If a congress organizer offers the content in audio or video, it’s most of the time all or nothing. Against a premium price. And what if there are parallel sessions, where two of my favorite speakers are performing at the same time? How do I get both stories?

What’s your opinion? Please join our survey where  we’re interested in your need for obtaining conference material (either pdf, poweroint, audio, video) after a conference or of conferences that you were not able to attend. As a token of appreciation we will give away 10 Amazon gift cards of $25 in a drawing for all completed surveys. Please fill in your email address in order to participate in this drawing. Completing the survey will cost you less than 10 minutes. Here you can find the survey.

Thank you very much for your participation.

How to present

In our job we have to give presentations on a regular basis. In addition, we get to see also a lot of presentations at congresses, seminars and within companies. As all people who regularly see presentations, we often ask ourselves why on earth somebody put that guy (or lady) on stage. Fifty-six bullets points, half an encyclopedia on one slide, badly designed graphs and (worst!) cheesy PowerPoint effects.

Now, we’re not saying we know it all (although we must have some feeling for it) so there’s always something to learn. And why not learn from the Master himself: His Steveness.

Watch this analysis of the Stevenotes. How does he build up his presentations? Why do you have to be enthusiastic, how can you give it more drama? Look, listen and learn.

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