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Cognitive Style of PowerPoint September 25, 2009

Posted by Kavita Vora in Cognitive Style of PowerPoint, Edward Tufte, [Books] Visualization & Presentation.
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Edward Tufte argues that PowerPoint is diluting message content and the information transmission rate in his book, “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint.” The bullet style of most corporate and government presentations leads to shortening of evidence and thought, using space for decoration and phluff, and a focus on format not content. Specifically, when dealing with serious issues such as corporate strategy or scientific analysis the one-dimensional and superficial style of PowerPoint leaves critical relationships and logical connects ambiguous. I agree with Tufte’s sentiment, however disagree with his solution. Tufte recommended using full sentences instead of phrases and charting full numerical data in tables rather then providing summary charts. While this would increase the richness of the information being communicated, I think it would distract the audience from paying attention to the speaker. Using key phrases and graphics helps frame the discussion for the audience, but should be supplemented with a handout or supplemental document with the details.