Analysis Of Edward Tufte's Persuasive Article: Powerpoint Communication

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Powerpoint Communication
 In Edward Tufte’s persuasive article “The Cognitive Style of Powerpoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within,” Tufte discusses the ineffective method of using electronic powerpoint (PP) presentations to relay information to a crowd. The audience for Tufte’s article consists of individuals immersed in technological communication. The author utilizes the visual elements of font color, underlining, italicizing, and font size as a way to visually convey his message. Tufte aims to persuade readers to agree that powerpoint presentations drastically decrease the amount of knowledge and stimulating interaction shared between a presenter and audience. Although Edward Tufte presents legitimate issues about powerpoint presentations, …show more content…
Tufte relates powerpoints to propaganda in order to adversely represent the honesty of powerpoint presentations, “ PP statistical graphics are the thinnest of all, except for those of Pravada in 1982, ...that newspaper operated as the major propaganda instrument of the Soviet communist party and a totalitarian government” (159). Powerpoint graphics are described as having a thinness equivalent to a propagandous newspaper distributed by a communist Soviet regime. This comparison dramatizes the “adverse” qualities of powerpoint by equating them to a manipulative instrument used by a an extremist government body. By using this example, Tufte depicts powerpoint as an untrustworthy means of communication. In this excerpt, Tufte uses an anecdote to describe another drastic comparison, “By that afternoon an email about my hitting the Off button on the overhead projector was crisscrossing the world... It was as if the President of the United States had banned the use of English in White House meetings” (157). This quote is an excerpt from an anecdote were Tufte is quoting Louis Gerstner, a man who disabled the use of a PP presentation in a company presentation/meeting. Gerstner compares his act of turning off a projector to the inconceivable act of a U.S. president banning the use of a English in a White House meeting. This exaggerated comparison emphasizes the perceived idea that presenting without a powerpoint completely debilitates a presenter’s capability to relay information to their audience. As later explained in Gestner’s example, the presenter was able to deliver the information without her powerpoint, demonstrating how a powerpoint is a visual aid rather than a scripted crutch. Comparing something as obscene as taking away the use of a country’s common native language in their nation’s capital

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