Dennis Kennedy

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Using PowerPoint Slides to Avoid or Enhance Communication

I really enjoy good PowerPoint presentations. Unfortunately, it’s kinda rare to see them, especially in the world of lawyerdom.
On the other hand, the only thing more boring than bad PowerPoint slides is another round of broadly dismissive general pronouncements that PowerPoint is evil. It always seems like blaming the tool for the way it is used. There are times that slides work really well and other times when you want to use a different approach.
The issue is always communication and reaching your audience with a message that works for them. If you are doing that, you’ll be surprised at how great people think your PowerPoint slides are.
With that in mind, I recommend that anyone who uses PowerPoint slides to present and anyone who spends time as part of an audience for a speaker who uses PowerPoint slides, read carefully a post on the Presentation Zen blog called “PowerPoint printouts used for communicating battle plans?”
This post, and the underlying post from that prompted the post from the Arms and Influence blog, will give you a great primer on the different ways PowerPoint slides can be used and the nuances you need to consider when you use slides in different ways.
The money quote:

In the end, I don’t think PPT is the cause but rather the symptom of a very large and very complex communication problem here.

By way of comparison, I recently found a set of PowerPoint slides from Chet Richards a great way to learn about first through fourth generation warfare and elements of military strategy. I’m not sure that I would have found a long single-spaced paper on the topic nearly as accessible and useful to me.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]
Learn more about legal technology at Dennis Kennedy’s Legal Technology Central page.
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One Response to “Using PowerPoint Slides to Avoid or Enhance Communication”

  1. Brett says:

    Well said. Following Dave Snowden’s (and Dilbert’s) PowerPoint bashing a couple of weeks ago, it occurred to me that they were blaming the tool when they should have been blaming the presenter. Too often, people think all this new technology will make them experts at something, when sometimes all it really does is highlight how much they still have to learn.
    In the right hands even PowerPoint can help someone do great things.

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