March 2010

Death by Power Point

To watch an excellent presentation called “Death by PowerPoint” click here.

A few weeks ago I attended an International Conference of physicists. There I attended a public lecture of a very notable Physics Nobel Laureate who is a very respected scientist. However, his presentation was just bad. I was very upset, because it was called a public presentation, yet even physicists could barely enjoy it. In my view, it made more harm than good.

Last night I posted another post about Power Point presentations and received a very interesting comment. So I thought sharing this resource might be useful to anybody who either is thinking of presenting or teaching or using a Power Point for any other purpose. This is for you – or to be more accurate – for all of us.  I was also happy to notice that the person who created this presentation is Russian (Alexei Kapterev) – I guess “Death by Power Point” transcends the linguistic and cultural boundaries…

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5 Responses to Death by Power Point

  1. Kathleen

    Hi Dr. M.,
    The death by power point is a funny pendulum. Now I see presentations with only one word on each screen and I get retina burn watching them fly bye…it is black and white, and not pleasant at all.
    There is a balance between too much and too little per slide that is for sure!

  2. Laurie Trepanier

    Dr M.

    I had to laugh as I was watching the slide show. The content was very informative and entertaining; the music was a little taxing after the first four minutes.

    I think I will recommend a few co-workers review this presentation. After a crazy week filled with meetings and PowerPoint, I think I was “almost killed by bullets!”

    By the way, many people in the military still go by the 6X6 rule for text and lines. Otherwise the slides would be a confusion of words, graphs and colours!


  3. Marina Milner-Bolotin


    I am in Spain now – attending a conference on Ed Technology this week. I have to give two talks and I am planning to use PPT, but I am changing them. I have heard the 7 by 7 rule, etc. I agree with your comment, the rule is just a rule. I think the real issue with bad PPT is that we rarely rehearse them and we try to cram too much info. In general, passively listening to many PPT is just hard and often unproductive.

    Thanks for your comment.

  4. Leo Chan

    Thanks for sharing Dr. M. I LOLed when I read “killed by bullets” – first time ever to hear people making connection between gun bullet and ppt bullet!

    Besides the four points mentioned (significance, structure, simplicity, rehearsal), I think it is also important to include “relevance” after “significance.” Of coz people going to a particular conference must be of relevance to the subject matter, there will always be new-comers or people who need a refresh on the topic presented.


  5. Marina Milner-Bolotin

    Leo, you are absolutely right. A lot of people are so focused on themselves, so they do not even think how what THEY WANT TO TALK ABOUT is relevant to the audience. I agree. Relevance must be there. And now based on what we all discussed about the PPT, I am going to redo my presentations for the INTED conference. My PPT are not good enough. I am guilty of most of the problems we raised… Luckily because of the 9 hour difference, I cannot sleep here anyways (it is 5 am in Valencia now…).

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