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The Grumpy Editor's guide to presentation programs

The Grumpy Editor's guide to presentation programs

Posted Sep 15, 2004 10:50 UTC (Wed) by rknop (guest, #66)
In reply to: The Grumpy Editor's guide to presentation programs by freemars
Parent article: The Grumpy Editor's guide to presentation programs

Or, don't necessarily skip the presentation software--- just use it well.

The problem isn't the software per se, but the fact that people use the bullet points and try to boil down what they're talking about to things that can be read from slides. The problem is the *way it is used*.

Blaming the presentation software is akin to blaming free software for any perceived losses in music industry sales....

If you have to show visuals with your talks-- and, as I'm in the sciences, that's crucial-- presentation software can be much nicer than using transparencies or physical slides. Just don't try to get the full *text* of your talk into the presentation along with your visuals.


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The Grumpy Editor's guide to presentation programs

Posted Sep 15, 2004 14:17 UTC (Wed) by mmarsh (subscriber, #17029) [Link]

Yeah, I've seen way too many scientific presentations where the audience reads along with the speaker as he repeats verbatim what's on the slides. Some of the problem is just poor presentation making/giving skills, but some is that people want to make slides that can be read outside of the context of the presentation. This is not the right way to prepare a talk, since the essence of a presentation is the presentation. Since most presentation programs (including LaTeX) allow you to attach notes, these should be where the spoken text, or a reasonable alternate, should be placed.

I don't have a problem with simple bullet lists, as long as the points are adequately illustrated through the spoken delivery or graphics -- preferrably both. I'll occassionally make a slide with almost no text, only graphics, because it better expresses what I'm going to say.

Since we've digressed from the merits of presentation software to the way it's used, I might as well mention _Dazzle 'Em with Style_, by Robert R. H. Anholt. It's worth a read for pretty much anyone who has to give more than one talk a year.

All that being said, I want a program that *helps* me put together the talk I want to write, rather than one that gets in the way. I've yet to see a program with the right balance.

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