The author of a new book entitled Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is questioning the value of using slideware programs like PowerPoint for developing and delivering effective training programs.

“There is absolutely no research anywhere to indicate that slide-based presentations or training programs are even remotely effective,” says author Eric Bergman. “In fact, the research is pointing in exactly the opposite direction. There is a high probability that, if you want to improve your training ROI, you must minimize—or be prepared to eliminate—the slides you use within those training programs.”

Minimize the slides you use in presentations
Bergman doesn’t make this statement without support. The foreword to Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is written by John Sweller, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts on cognitive science and how the human mind processes information to learn. Professor Sweller’s research has been cited more than 6,000 times in academic articles and journals. He has graduated more than 40 doctoral students.

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

A Practical Alternative
Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ has been written to provide a research-based, practical alternative for delivering all kinds of presentations, including training programs. It has the potential to revolutionize the way both presenters and audiences view presentations in the future.

The book’s first chapter—“The Pied Piper of PowerPoint”—shines a critical light on ten basic assumptions for using PowerPoint, plus the overriding assumption that slides are necessary or desirable for effective communication in the first place.

The next five chapters are five simple steps that can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of evoking ‘Death by PowerPoint’ on others, while enhancing communication effectiveness:
  1. Put the Audience First by tailoring the discussion to the audience’s 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 presentations and training programs, their communication effectiveness will improve. And so will their success.”

Final Chapter
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 strong research base that underpins this book provides reassurance that the recommended techniques have been tested and actually do work in a variety of contexts,” Professor Sweller writes. “Readers should try these recommendations for themselves.

“This well-written, fascinating book provides us with effective presentation techniques, rather than the ineffective ones that have arisen without sufficient thought or consideration of their consequences. Eric Bergman’s techniques are a window to the future of this important human activity.”

Read Professor Sweller’s entire foreword.

Read a sample of the book.

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