Reducing Reliance on PowerPoint
Many of us spend most of our time creating content as PowerPoint slides. We win new business talking about ourselves with slides, we create more slides on behalf of our clients, and those slides are used in presentations to communicate important medical information. In Edward Tufte’s Beautiful Evidence, there is an entire chapter devoted to the cognitive style of PowerPoint and it is alarming!
Tufte argues that PowerPoint characteristics actually hinder the quality of thought for the presenter as well as the audience. Examples include: the shortening of evidence and thought with bullets, breaking up narratives and data into fragments, rapid temporal sequencing of thin information rather than focused spatial analysis, preoccupation with format and branding over content, and ineffective designs for graphics and tables.
This runs counter to everything we are trying to accomplish in making lasting clinical impressions to improve patient care. It is our responsibility to challenge ourselves and our clients to rely less on PowerPoint with creative and engaging solutions. When PowerPoint is the best medium, I have found that working with a truly multi-disciplinary team with true creatives and linguistic experts helps ensure that the intellectual level of the content is not compromised.