Only a few years ago, PowerPoint was a novelty. All of a sudden, speakers started giving PowerPoint presentations at conferences and seminars. Audiences welcomed PowerPoint. The slides made presentations more interesting and lively. You could gaze at the slides while you listened to the speaker. Speakers — especially speakers who weren't comfortable talking before an audience — liked PowerPoint, too. PowerPoint took away some of the burdens of public speaking. The program made it easier to speak in front of strangers.

PowerPoint became a staple of conferences, seminars, and corporate boardrooms. Then the novelty wore off, and audiences started grumbling. The presentations were too much alike. You saw bulleted list after bulleted list. Presentations followed the same tired formula — introductory slides followed by” ““key point” slides following by a tidy conclusion. Writing in the New Yorker, Ian Parker declared that PowerPoint is” ““a social instrument, turning middle managers into bullet‐point dandies.” Edward Tufte, professor of information design at Yale University, lamented the program's” ““charjunk” and” ““PowerPointPhluff.” In a Wired essay called” ““PowerPoint Is Evil,” he wrote,” ““PowerPoint style routinely disrupts, dominates, and trivializes content.”

Despite these complaints, speakers have not abandoned PowerPoint, and audiences still welcome it. But expectations have risen. Audiences expect the presenter to use PowerPoint skillfully and creatively. The audience ...

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