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Power Point is apparently the root of all bad things.
I am torn as always. Power point is a tool. There is no difference between it and a Table saw. Use a table saw well and you can construct all kinds of wonderful pieces of furniture rapidly. Use it badly and you have a pile of sawdust.
Powerpoint can be used effectively. So can epidemiology. The sad state of our world tells us that most people don't. Blaming the tool though is an even greater stupidity.
Might I suggest in the above case, that the real culprit is the failure of the Military industrial complex to keep the wars raging.
I saw a 4 Star General suggesting that there wasn't a plan for getting out of Iraq before we went in. How is it that a 4 Star General (he does report to someone, but there ain't many steps between him and CIC) gets 4 Stars without having the ability to say "Hmm, there is a problem here, I am a 4 star general, I can start the process of solving it!" Lack of actual war experience maybe!
Which is to say that "Peace" is getting a chance.
The main difficulty here is the ease of use of Powerpoint. This then enables people who have very few ideas (and even less ability) to produce something which says nothing but in many words.
In my industry the leading lights were heard to say "Not another Powerpoint presentation" when faced with the fifth of such abominations.
Especially when they use all of the "features" of power point.
Most of those features constitute "bling". They are sort of cool once. After that you are ready to go after the author with a golf club.
I watched one presentation where the author used "Typewriter" for the entire presentation. Every letter of the presentation was delivered with a lovely tip.tip.tip.tip. I have to throw him a little slack cause he was 8.
I have to disagree with the "ease" of use though. That is one of those slippery words. It is really easy to put content into. Because of this it is not all that easy to make a good presentation because it is so tempting to include a little bling here and another little bit there. Suddenly your powerpoint looks like P Diddy (snoop dog, 2pak, whoever your favorite Rap artist is) (if it turns out one of those is not a rap artist or maybe two are the same person...) on a glitzy day.
This makes it really easy though to look really adept at PP. All you have to do is keep your screens short and you are golden. No one is overwhelmed with with having tried to read full paragraphs. No one is experiencing an epileptic attack because you used some variation of Blink. Everyone is light headed and happy because you didn't put them to sleep with your PP presentation just like all the others.
If all someone did with PP was use it as a slide show for showing pictures related to their topic, they could beat 90% of their competition.
You said it all Brad when you said it is a tool. You can make something useful or you can make sawdust... of the audience's brains.
I have used Powerpoint since the version with Windows 3.1 and made all the usual mistakes except that, fortunately, that version of PP was not features rich.
Features such as slide transitions, text animations, slide animations, sound effects and so on are all useful, sort of, if used wisely and sparingly.
I do use slide transitions but the least obtrusive and the same one throughout.
I am surprised at the US military, usually they have training courses and manuals for everything. Clearly if slides that the one shown are used they have not bothered when it comes to Microsoft.
First rule of anything:
KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid
I was fortunate to be sent on some training courses many years ago. Not the sort of Technical college training courses where some tutor works through the Microsoft tutorials, usually a step or two ahead of the class and which will show you all the wonders of wizards and effects, but a training course on presentations.
By the time you have given your firsts presentation and then watched yourself played back on video you are ready to listen and learn.
last year I gave another of My power point presentations at a conference in Antwerp. The audience reaction showed mine to be the best - topic, relevance, interest and presentation.
It has been a long path.