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Let’s schedule a meeting on that

April 29, 2010
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The NYT has an article up about the evils of powerpoint. Dean Dead offers his own well thought take on the positives and negatives of powerpoint. Having been exposed to it extensively both here at MegaCorp and also in engineering lectures I'll offer my opinion, appropriately in some bullet points.
  • MegaCorp likes a ppt for everything; a new design, a senior briefing, or why we should switch to lower cost toilet paper.
    • Sometimes they are useful
    • It is good to have a visual record of a design or project where drawings and photos are often a key component
    • All too often there is way too much text and diagrams jampacked into a presentation
      • This results in them wowing you with the visuals but telling you absolutely nothing concrete about the project (Avatar?)
  • Some people insist on printing their 100 page presentation for all the people in the meeting
    • This is unnecessary
    • Usually only one or two slides are actually relevant to the people attending
    • Departments attempt to make themselves look more important by pretending the new process is more complicated than it really is
  • Some managers get their secretaries to print copies of the drafts in order to finalize, rather than learning how to use the software
    • Is that the sound of a tree crying?
  • Most professors tend to use powerpoint for what it is best at:
    • Equations and definitions are listed, so the professor doesn't need to write them out on the board
    • The professor can then focus on a verbal discussion as to the significance of the equations
    • Neat photos of the material structure of rhino horns or charts on the hardness of human vs animal teeth make the topic more interesting
  • Some professors and some managers haven't learned that you don't need to pack your slides with text and then read every word
  • Most people are poor at eliminating unnecessary bullet points, as am I
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