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  • Disclosure
    Nobody pays me to write any of the copy on my blog, and should I ever have the good fortune that they do, I will declare it. My main employment is as the owner and principal of The Future Place consultancy. The Future Place provides two key services 1) training and services to industry and academic bodies and 2) consultancy services to companies. The details of the companies I work with are a private matter, but if I blog about any company who has paid The Future Place more than expenses recently (approx. two years) I will mention that they are a client. I hold equity in Virtual Surveys and provide consulting services to them from time to time. I am paid to run courses for a number of trade bodies and over the last few years clients have included ESOMAR, AMSRS, MRS, and MRIA.

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Mr_roi

Good stuff Ray, and a Post I'll share with some of our clients. As you say it's poor choice of tools, or lack of thought about how to use them, not the tool itself that matters. PPT (or Open Office, or Keynote etc.) are in some ways so flexible and feature rich that they they can be "adapted" (read shoe-horned) into many tasks for which they are in fact not the best choice. I have two bug-bears:

1. A common use of PPT to provide a final "report" (instead of doing the report properly in a Word-Processing tool and then summarizing a few points for PPT representation. This theoretically saves effort,but in fact costs time (as layout etc. is hard) and results in outputs that are too verbose for easy presentation, and yet cannot convey details that are needed in a final report.

2. Using PPT to convey really complex ideas that need to be unfolded and summarised carefully. The classic is that "spider-web" slide from the US army (http://ow.ly/2rTrF) that has been circulated so often. The sad thing about that one is not that it was so visually confusing (which what most people pick on), but that it in fact contained complex but important information that was so badly presented that the General viewing it just made a joke. The lesson for market researchers is not "simplify all complex ideas to two bullet points" (which alas is how some people read the issue), but "find better tools than a PPT slide when you need to convey complex ideas".

With lots of good tools these days in areas like infographics, mind-mapping etc., there is little excuse for the on-going misuse of Powerpoint.

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