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More Bad News for PowerPoint Users

A study from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain confirms the conclusions of a study from Purdue University I wrote about recently

Like the Purdue study, the Barcelona results are bad news for the 40 million people each day who deliver “standard” PowerPoint presentations. 

Their slides are getting in the way of the communication process, leading to lower understanding and retention by the audience. 

However, the study indicates that presenters can achieve better outcomes by turning off the projector, talking to their audience, and using a chalkboard, whiteboard or flip chart when needed. 

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Defining the Line Between Spin and Sin

For spokespeople to be effective, it’s vital that they understand the nuances between lies, deception and spin.
 

In her book LYING: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, philosopher Sissela Bok defines deception as that which occurs when “we communicate messages meant to mislead … meant to make them believe what we ourselves do not believe.”  To her, lying is “any intentionally deceptive message which is stated.” 

 

In other words, to lie, you must make some form of statement; you cannot lie by simply omitting facts. If you omit facts to create a false impression, you are practicing a form of deception. 

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Even More Bad News for PowerPoint Users

A study conducted at the University of Munich has confirmed the results of two previous studies I’ve written about—a study from Purdue and another from the University of Barcelona

And the news is truly bad for the 30 to 40 million PowerPoint-driven presentations, lectures, workshops, seminars, and training programs delivered worldwide each day.

If PowerPoint is your crutch, it’s bad news for you, too. 

There is now absolutely no question that your audience misses large portions of what you say when you show your slides and talk at the same time. 

The Munich study confirmed that “the retention of oral information was significantly lower in the condition with regular slides than in the condition without slides.”

Crisis Management is NOT Crafting Messages

As a “profession” of communicators and public relations practitioners, it’s time we came to grips with an important reality. 

Crisis management (and, by extension, crisis communication) is not about crafting messages. It’s about influencing behaviour—specifically the behaviour of the individuals, executives and/or leaders whose actions or decisions led to the crisis in the first place. 

For example, consider the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. When the former radio host was fired from his job at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), he immediately took the initiative with his now-infamous Facebook post

Step one in the standard crisis communication handbook is to get in front of the issue. Check. Step two is to control the message. Check.

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