Friday, May 22, 2009

Complexity of Presentation

My recent visit to Essence restaurant in downtown Montreal reminded me of an important maxim: the fussier the pressentation, the poorer the content.
This restaurant serves food on some of the most inventive plates I have ever seen. They come in the weirdest, most unexpected shapes and sizes. Arranging them on the table without knocking anything down takes some effort. The food, however, is bland, tasteless, and a bit stale.
The same happens with conference presentations. In literary criticism, the best presentation is one that needs nothing but words to bring across the point. Words are what we analyze, so we should dominate this medium pretty well. The presenters who rely on handouts, slides, powerpoint presentations and other extras, usually have very little substance to their talks. Since they don't have any real information to convey, they use these supplemental materials to hide the vacuity of their presentations.

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