Honey, I've 10 slides to a better family!

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"Instead of human contact, we a given human display...people have become unaccustomed to having real conversations with each other where we actually give and take to arrive at a new answer." - Ian Parker, page 355 of Writing Material


The moment I read these sentences I thought, "Oh God, someone's finally found out that us shy people use PowerPoint as a shield and they're going to take it away!!" Well, after my little panic attack, I finished reading and sat down to write this in a calm, rational state of mind. (Or as near as I can get.) But the above quote really got me thinking on how I used PowerPoint presentations and how I viewed them in relation to oral, written, and digital communication. Quite often I am a shy person when actually speaking to someone, so standing before a group of people and briefing them on a project or subject of mine tends to make me stutter, gurgle, and go beat red in the face. I hide behind my PowerPoint slides so that my audience sees them and not me.

However, I have noticed that while such actions as mine above can give me a boost of confidence in imagined anonymity, it can negatively impact the natural give and take of oral communication. This is reflected in another quote that Parker uses in his excerpt: "'Last week I caught myself planning out (in my head) the slides I would need to explain to my wife why we couldn't afford a vacation this year'" (354). PowerPoint has enabled the restructuring of our minds when attempting to win an audience over (like in an argument or business meeting), but I think it may have compromised our ability to comprise such ordered arguments on the fly. Then again, I also believe that if you know as much as possible on the subject that you're arguing, then you already have slides of information in your head, you only need to order them.

Just as a side note, PowerPoint was also used in the movie "Couples Retreat" in order to convince all of the couples to go to a fabulous retreat.

Check out what other singles are writing on this subject!

1 Comments

I like your use of the movie Couples Retreat because I think my skin was crawling during that part of the movie because of my hatred for PowerPoint. I also cringed at the part in Parker's writing when the mother used a PowerPoint with her children and also the quote you mentioned about the family vacation.

I understand that not everyone is okay when they need to give a presentation, but I'd hope that in front of your friends and loved ones you wouldn't need a PowerPoint.

I also liked how you said you want your audience to see the slides and not you - as I mentioned in my blog, as a presenter, you should be using your PowerPoint, not the other way around. Especially, if you know all the information that you're going to read off the PowerPoint anyway. And Maddie, you always know the information....just slowly, back away from the PowerPoint and no one will get hurt.

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This page contains a single entry by MadelynGillespie published on February 10, 2010 1:15 PM.

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