In The News: Busy, Boring, Confusing PowerPoint


NPR’s David Gura recently wrote an article called “Busy, Boring, Confusing: PowerPoint Presents Problems for the U.S. Military.”  Gura explained that several years ago, he attended a presentation given by David Petraeus… complete with a crazy looking PowerPoint complete with clip art, confusing diagrams, and way too much text.  Petraeus is currently the Director of the C.I.A.  The man has nearly 40 years of military experience as well as a PhD; he’s most certainly not a fool.  So how can PowerPoint get the best of him… and so many of us?

According to Martin E. Dempsey, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, “[W]e better figure out how to enrich our soldiers’ learning experiences in a way that challenges them and is consistent with who they are and what they expect.”

Dempsey is exactly right.  Whether you’re a teacher, a public relations professional, a volunteer organization leader, or the head of the armed forces, creating a visual presentation that works is important if you want your audience to a) pay attention and b) care.

Visual presentation, according to Nancy Duarte, should be “digital scenery” to reinforce your message.  Please watch Duarte’s Five Rules for Creating Great Presentations below.  Then, check out my 5 Tips for Effective Visuals.

My favorite tip is to “spread ideas and move people.”  What did you like best about Duarte’s five rules?


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