Back to the dreaded PowerPoint again which I discussed in January – I am presently taking a short course in Political theory – My Tutor Peter Ryley, who has an excellent blog (Fat Man on a Keyboard), pointed me to a recent article in the Telegraph which reports that there is now scientific evidence that our brains are unable to effectivley process information if it is spoken to us while we are reading.
So now when you fall asleep in a seminar you have scientific evidence to validate your behaviour – I shall feel much more comfortable in future when I nod off to the droning sound of a speaker reading their PowerPoint slides. However I have noted that even professional speakers are prone to using too many words on a slide.
PowerPoint is an excellent AV tool – if you need to show images that support a presentation but if you are using it to display words you really should question that. Presenting words both auditorily and visually it seems does not reinforce the message, it actually confuses the brain which starts to switch off.
I suspect that in addition to the problem with trying to assimilate the same information being received simultaneously via two senses, there is another issue. A speakers voice, I notice, tends to become more monotone when they are reading from slides and there is also far less storytelling to engage our interest.
All in all the evidence is clear that if you want to get a message across the best advice is to leave PowerPoint behind and rely on your oratory skills to get attention and be remembered.