MAY 8, 2012 — For everyone who has ever had to endure the mind-numbing boredom of slide-driven presentations—a malady known around the world as ‘Death by PowerPoint’—help is at hand.

A new book launched today, entitled 5 Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’, has the potential to revolutionize the way both presenters and their audiences view presentations in the future.

The foreword to Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is written John Sweller, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts in cognitive science and how the human mind processes information to learn.

“Today we use technology such as PowerPoint because we can, not because it results in improvements,” writes Professor Sweller. “I feel the evidence is overwhelming that the way in which we currently organize presentations is ineffective and inappropriate.”

The book’s first chapter, entitled “The Pied Piper of PowerPoint,” shines a critical light on 10 assumptions for using slides during presentations, plus the most basic assumption that they’re necessary or desirable for effective communication in the first place.

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With the issues clearly outlined, the remainder of the book focuses on solutions. To assist presenters, the book outlines five simple steps that can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of evoking ‘Death by PowerPoint’ on others, while significantly enhancing communication effectiveness:
  1. Put the Audience First by tailoring the discussion to their specific needs.
  2. Structure the Conversation by using a proven framework to put ideas into context.
  3. Minimize Visual Aids by questioning the value of each and every slide.
  4. Convey Your Message & Personality by creating a two-way, conversational exchange.
  5. Answer Questions Throughout by keeping your answers short to enhance interaction and interest.
“It doesn’t matter whether people read a single additional word of the book,” says author Eric Bergman. “If they embrace these five steps and actively incorporate them into their presentations, their communication effectiveness will improve. And so will their success.”

To assist audiences, the final chapter provides insight into “Overcoming the Addiction” and introduces the audience manifesto, a tool by which audiences everywhere can say: “Please, no more mind-numbing, slide-driven presentations. There is life after PowerPoint. And we’d like to live it.”

The book has already received strong reviews. “While reading the book, I was riveted by the content,” says Glenn Ives, chair, Deloitte & Touche LLP. “My mind was flying through my own presentations; the things I could have improved, how the audience must have felt, how this information could be applied to our board of director meetings.

“Eric provides straight-forward advice to presenting ideas effectively. This book is well worth reading.”

Professor Sweller agrees: “The various recommendations Bergman makes are based on strong research evidence he has brilliantly applied to the art of presenting information to a live audience,” he writes. “Eric Bergman’s techniques are a window to the future of this important human activity.”



Eric Bergman
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