Seriously Higher Ed, stop with the crappy PowerPoint presentations

I just got back from a great conference for the American Society for Training and Development. This conference had training and education leaders from all sectors; private, government, education, non-profit, and corporate. At the conference, I had an opportunity to see a number of fantastic presentations. Unfortunately, I walked out of two presentations, both were given by members of higher education. Also the last keynote presenter paled in comparison to the first two simply because of her presentation choices.

While the members of higher education may have had great content to present, the presentations were so bad I had to get up and leave. When compared to the presentations given by those who make a living on giving good presentation, it was easy to make the comparison. This was not the first time I was disappointed in presentations given by the higher ed sector, the last time was at AERA; since everyone gave similar presentations, the difference was harder to notice.

There is great research available explaining that a screen of bullet points read to the audience is not effective. Why do we keep doing it? More importantly, when are we going to stop giving terrible presentations? We lose credibility from the corporate sector each time we give a bad presentation.

I know we can do better. I am pursuing a degree from the University of Wyoming, and I took a class on visual literacy. In this class, I learned about the importance of visuals in learning. Yet, we regularly fall back to poor choices when putting together a presentation. Let’s stop giving crappy PowerPoint presentations.

“Death by PowerPoint” is real; it is caused by the overuse of bullets. Save a life with a visual.