Using Old Presentation Technology in the New Year
When was the last time you used an overhead projector and transparencies?
When I posed this question at Twitter
yesterday, I half expected scorn. Overheads and transparencies? Such old presentation technologies! I haven't seen an overhead projector since the 1900's.Turns out, I was only half right in expecting half scorn!
It seems that overhead projectors are still in use today. Here are the replies from my Twitter pals:
Note: when I post to Twitter, it automatically updates my status and publishes at FaceBook
. Friends who follow at FaceBook had this to say:Audience Reality Check.
Back in the late 1900's, I'd see an overhead projector in just about every board, class, and meeting room. The overhead projector was so ubiquitous, I used transparencies to back up PowerPoint presentations. If something went wrong with the computer or display unit, why, there was always
an overhead.I don't back up on transparencies anymore.
I just plain haven't seen an overhead in ages. (A quick Google Trends search shows a dramatic decline in the number of searches for overhead projectors
Don't believe everything you believe.
Just because I haven't seen an overhead doesn't mean that they're not being used creatively -- by very creative people! Old technologies are still hanging around -- why, just a few months ago, someone sent me a presentation on a zip disk.A zip disk!
Luckily, I had an old zip drive in the basement. This saved me the hassle of explaining FTP. Or thumb drives. Or CDR. Or anything remotely new-fangled.
As we enter the new year, which old technologies will finally fade away -- and which are here to stay?
And when was the last time you used an overhead projector and a set of transparencies? :)Link Love.
(Thanks much to all who responded on Twitter and FaceBook: Microsoft MVP Bill Dillworth
, Expression Engine MVP Michael Boyink
, Emmy nominated writer Charlotte Risch
, Public Relations Professor Barbara Nixon
, PhD Hal Richman
, Public Relations Bird Sandy C. Evans
, William Powell fan OMGFree
, Murphy's Law Breaker Lee Potts
, MotorSport enthusiast DR1665
, and Spartan Telecom Manager Nick Kwiatkowski
Labels: PowerPoint Presentation, social media
PowerPoint, Propaganda, and You
This is Your Brain on PowerPoint. Our brains have 2 lobes. Loosely speaking, the left handles data, facts, and analysis. The right handles emotions, art, and intuition.
When it comes to experiencing a PowerPoint presentation, there's only so much your brain can process. You can either listen to a presenter speak, or you can try to read what you seen on the screen.
If you try to do both at the same time, you absorb less. And you become irritated with the presenter.
That's why we’re experiencing something of a fashion backlash against overly complicated, bullet-laden slides. They aren't effective. And they annoy people.
The 2008 vogue. We're seeing more PowerPoint slides with simple images and minimal words. In a way, these slides remind you of a child's book.
Simple graphics. Big words. Few words.
Sure. But there's a problem.
You are not a child. Your brain demands more!
The 2009 backlash.
photo credit: Spigoo
Let the backlash against the backlash begin! The current PowerPoint design fashion vogue is overly simplistic, and panders almost completely to the right side of the brain. Since one of our chief presentation objectives is to persuade, why is this a problem?Using only right brain techniques to persuade is emotionally manipulative.
Oh, it's highly effective, all right, but it's propaganda, nonetheless! Appealing only to the right side of the brain is less than truthful -- it lies by omission of key facts. Audiences are getting more savvy.
We're getting more suspicious. We're asking harder questions. We're tired of lying, half-truths, and crass emotional manipulation by corporate leaders, politicians, and news media outlets.
Those of us who are sentient realize that the simple and compelling imagery we see in corporate PowerPoint presentations, on TV ads, and elsewhere in the media aren't rational. Many people are beginning to resent the oversimplification. Tired of being treated like children, we're lashing back against these heavy handed attempts at brainwashing. "Propaganda Bingo" is long overdue.
It's time we started screaming out "Glittering Generality
" or "False dilemma
" and so forth when our leaders start blatantly using propaganda techniques in meetings, PowerPoint presentations, and press conferences
. After all, we played Buzzword Bingo
in the 1990's: why not upgrade to "Propaganda Bingo" in 2009?The PowerPoint Propaganda Backlash
is just one important reason to mix it up a little in your next PowerPoint presentation. Compelling imagery can help you make an emotional and persuasive case: but intelligent people will also require data and analysis for their decision making process. You’ll want to use persuade with right-brain techniques -- and also give the left brain something deeper to analyze. Social media has also made "talking back" popular.
People are becoming accustomed to criticizing presentation techniques and content on Twitter backchannels
. They're creating and commenting on blogs, and voting on Digg or StumbleUpon. Today's audience isn't quietly and politely absorbing canned corporate and political propaganda: they're getting accustomed to talking back and creating their own content.
You can feel, see, and hear the pendulum swinging all around you!
- 1987? Lotsa words. Lotsa bullet points.
- 2007? Few words. Simple pictures.
How about making 2009 the year of the middle way between these two approaches?
Or do you believe that audiences will be content to consume PowerPoint propaganda techniques for a while longer? How fast will the pendulum swing? Is 2009 the year of increased PowerPoint Propaganda Awareness?
Labels: design, PowerPoint Presentation, social media
Death by PowerPoint Watch: 2008
For three years straight, I have been Googling and tracking the term "Death by PowerPoint". I want to see how many pages the big G will deliver for this tired cliche.
In 2006, Google delivered 55,000 page
s that mentioned this oft-used phrase. In 2007, we saw "Death by PowerPoint" pages increase by almost 50% to 82,400
In 2008, we see the biggest increase: from 82,400 to 366,000
. This is over 4 times as many mentions!
Clearly, "Death by PowerPoint" (searched without quotes) is on the increase. In spite of a new and improved version of PowerPoint (2007) and the popularity of countless books and blogs
on the topic of presentation design and delivery -- PowerPoint casualties continue to climb throughout 2008.
What will bring an end to the carnage? And what kind of numbers do you predict for 2009?
Labels: design, PowerPoint Presentation