Archive for July, 2009

PowerPoint vs. Keynote

July 13, 2009

PowerPoint is a powerful tool. But, then again, so’s a Smith & Wesson. And in the wrong hands both can kill. We’ve all heard the phrase “Death by PowerPoint” or as Dilbert would have it “PowerPoint Poisoning” and here’s betting you’ve been on the receiving end of many a poor presentation made worse by a speaker who reads out his or her “script.” A script projected before you (but behind them- so they have to turn their back to you to read it) word for word.

As a famous cliche would have it, “a picture tells a thousand words” but some speakers insist on putting a thousand words on each of their slides.

Apple's amazing Keynote

Apple's amazing Keynote

Research at the University of New South Wales has shown that projecting words at people is a complete waste of time and does nothing to help people recall what you’ve said (surely the point of giving a talk!) If you project the word “clock” most people don’t see a clock – they just hear the word said to them. So, why not project an image of a clock?

That’s because most speakers treat PowerPoint as an aid for them (rather than as an aid for their audience.) It’s their script!

A speaker should find other ways of remembering what they have to say. Rehearsal – for instance! A speaker who can actually be bothered to learn what they have to say always goes down well with an audience.

In recent months I’ve taken to using Apple’s Keynote as a Visual Aid. I find it better than PowerPoint. You can use high resolution images, embed video, use music all with incredible animations that blow PowerPoint out of the water. I recently had cause to use it for a charity auction (using a slide for each of the 85 lots.) At 350MB the slide show wasn’t small but ran perfectly without a hitch. Our auctioneer, none other than, Mr Jeremy Clarkson was suitably impressed with the quality of the slideshow. Several pin-sharp images were used on each slide using Smart Build to animate them professionally. Videos ran smoothly and music played at all the right times. It’s easy to insert graphs & charts and the “Smart Move” and “Anagram” transitions had the audience amazed.

Keynote impresses Jeremy Clarkson

Keynote impresses Jeremy Clarkson

PowerPoint has become old hat. People have seen the templates before, the animations are basic and the whole thing has a tendency to pack up on you at the most inconvenient of times. If you’re fed up of being let down by the software, interrupted by “updates” or just bored with it can I suggest you give Keynote a try. You won’t be disappointed.