Archive for April 29th, 2010


U.S. Army General: “PowerPoint Makes Us Stupid”

The PowerPoint slide shown to US commanders shows security, economic and political conditions in Afghanistan.

Can’t help but comment on this because it strikes a chord with me. The Daily Mail of London brings us this story on how U.S. in Afghanistan has come to loathe the Microsoft software known as PowerPoint. The article quotes Brigadier General H.R. McMaster who “banned the presentation package when he led an offensive in Tal Afar, Iraq, in 2005.” The General is quoted telling the New York Times, “It’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control… Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”

General James N. Mattis, the Joint Forces Commander, was even more demonstrative: “PowerPoint makes us stupid.”

My favorite quote on PowerPoint came from someone at Padilla Speer Beardsley, a Minneapolis-based PR  firm I interned at several years ago. It’s a truism I live by: Stories are compelling; PowerPoint presentations aren’t. If you have something to say, wrap it up in a story to illustrate your point. If you recite a bunch of facts listed in bullet point fashion, people won’t remember it nearly as well — if at all. Think about it.