Sunday

Presentations: Avoid writing slideumentation in powerpoint



Garr Reynolds talks about the chief of Toyota urging employees not to use powerpoint to write documentation (or what Garr calls slideumentation). Word is just better suited to the task. Powerpoint is a tool, just like Keynote. It's how you use the tool that makes the difference.

An article that got some attention in Japan last week was this one (in Japanese), which says the Toyota Motor Corporation CEO Katsuaki Watanabe urged employees to show self-restraint and stop the wasteful practice of using PowerPoint for the creation of documents (what I call slideuments). The CEO made this statement while talking about the need to reduce costs at Toyota. He is reminding employees to be cost conscious and he used the practice of using PowerPoint as an example of waste. Watanabe said that (in the good old days?) they used to use one piece of paper to make a clear point or proposal, or to summarize an issue, but now everything is in PowerPoint, he says, which uses many sheets of paper and expensive colors...but it's a waste. The CEO is not saying that PowerPoint is necessarily harmful (he does not mention its use for actual presentations), but he is saying printed "documents" made with the presentation tool tend to have less content, less clarity, and yet use more paper/ink and take more time. In the context of a challenging economy and an atmosphere of reducing costs, what would you say of any business practice that (1) takes more time, (2) costs more money, and yet (3) appears to be less effective? In the spirit of kaizen (continuous improvement), even if the waste is small, it must be eliminated. (Source: Presentationzen)
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