Controversial New PowerPoint Research

“Australian researchers may have pronounced the death of the PowerPoint presentation.”

I don’t think so, but there is a very interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald today that would help about 90% of the in person PowerPoint presentations that are given in business.

Researchers at the University of NSW found that the brain cannot process written and spoken information well at the same time. (Thank you for the tip from Michael Huxley via Guy Kawasaki.) The principle finding among some of the other controversial conclusions is “It is more difficult to process information if it is coming at you in the written and spoken form at the same time.”

They very aptly add that they are talking about the same written text accompanied by the reading of that text. Which is a great point to examine, and I think rings true.

So stop with using PowerPoints with so much text! Use graphics, charts, pictures, symbols and the like – because they also found in their research that “It is effective to speak to a diagram, because it presents information in a different form.”

Although a Professor Sweller states that “The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster and should be ditched,” I would vehemently disagree. It just has to be used effectively. PowerPoint (or Keynote) is a great tool to AMPLIFY what we are saying, but not serve as our scripts, or substitute for our own communication experience when we are speaking.

All the more reason to use Black Slides.

2 comments on “Controversial New PowerPoint Research

  1. I find your blog extremely valuable and this article in particular confirmed my self-diagnosis. In my spare time, I write and perform comedy and decided to see how I could use Alec Baldwin’s fatherly communication disaster in a productive way. I created a rant against Power Point and a Power Point presentation ranting against Power Point. I hope you find it amusing.