I failed to mention the Zoho range of online office applications when I recently highlighted various virtual desktop web operating systems, probably because it had been a while since I sampled Zoho but the range of application availability is now very broad with online polls being one of my favourite easy to use applications. They’ve had a bit of a boost in visibility lately as some of their applications are available via Facebook and with plugin readers available for Firefox and Internet explorer. All are worth investigating whether you are a virtual assistant, web based worker or just looking to try a few web based applications for personal or professional use.
There’s an interesting article on The Sydney Morning Herald which reports that the University of New South Wales has condemned the use of PowerPoint presentations as part of its research findings concerning how we all learn things and argues that our brains absorb information well in verbal or written form but much less so when these are combined such as with PowerPoint presentations. I’ve long felt that PowerPoint and similar electronic presentation alternatives such as Open Office’s Impress and Apple’s Keynote are not necessarily bad in themselves but that they encourage lazy and formulaic presentation styles in which the speaker can end up just reading the slides. I used to film and provide Audio Visual backup for many corporate presentations by quite high profile players (I’ve been to PowerPoint hell too many times) who would give attendees reams of PowerPoint handouts to accompany their dire presentations. These were only marginally more interesting that the presentation itself. In the right hands presentation software can support the speaker but if the speaker has few communications skills then it’s mostly a lost cause and it would have been better to hire a good communicator to put across the message on their behalf than to have put their faith in PowerPoint slides to carry the day. The memorable presentations were those with minimal PowerPoint backing with an effective and engaging speaker who could also go off script when needed (that’s not the same as rambling) and who employed more short and precise graphic based backup images (photos, remember them?)and diagrams but were frugal in terms of OD-ing on endless bullet points. Technology and software out of a box does not make everyone an effective communicator. Here endeth the rant.
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