In the course of a funny and perceptive essay about the fear of public speaking, Sam Harris touches on the scourge of PowerPoint.

Most speakers have learned that PowerPoint should be restricted to interesting images and other graphical aids, with a minimum of text. A few seasoned academics are holding out, however, and still oppress their audiences with walls of words, often in random fonts and terrible colors, so that they can turn their backs at regular intervals and consult a full set of notes… Imagine Martin Luther King, Jr., using PowerPoint, and the price will be clear: To truly connect with an audience, you want their attention on you. To change slides every thirty seconds is to be rendered nearly invisible by the apparatus.

On public speaking – I loved in particular this bit:

Pathological self-consciousness in front of a crowd is more than ordinary anxiety: it lies closer to the core of the self. It seems, in fact, to be the self — the very feeling we call “I” — but magnified grotesquely. There are few instances in life when the sense of being someone becomes so onerous…

For one who is terrified of public speaking, standing in front of a crowd exploits the cramp of self …Yes, that is the problem with being me. Ow… The feeling that we call “I” — the ghost that wears your face like a mask at this moment — seems to suddenly gather mass and become the site of a psychological implosion.

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One Response to “How Not to Hide Behind PowerPoint”

  1. University Diaries » How Not to Hide Behind PowerPoint | All about PowerPoint Says:

    […] more here: University Diaries » How Not to Hide Behind PowerPoint Categories: Powerpoint, Uncategorized Tags: audiences, few-seasoned, graphical, […]

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