John Bohannon: Dance vs. powerpoint, a modest proposal in TEDxBrussels Talk

Recently we saw the TEDxBrusells conference talk where John Bohannon had a modest proposal. In his TED talk from November 2011, he asserts that bad PowerPoint presentations are a serious threat to the global economy. He claims bad PowerPoint presentations drain the global economy of $250 million per day and add up to an annual deficit of $1 billion a year. Bad presentations waste time and wasting time wastes money.

Below is an excerpt from the article we read in Ethos3. Bohannon’s modest proposal is to use dancers to help to visualize complex ideas, using no words at all. Bohannon demonstrates his proposal by employing dancers from Minnesota’s Black Label Movement in his talk. The dancers show through movement how atoms absorb photons and how when they get cold enough they become superfluid, and on and on.

Bohannon has a Ph.D in Molecular Biology himself, but claims:

the more [a fellow Ph.D] said, the less I understood.

Indeed, we don’t know anything about photons or superfluids or molecular bio but it sure did look pretty to see all the action take place through dancers. And it made sense– much more sense than reading it from a textbook, or worse: a PowerPoint. Bohannon argues we should use dance to explain all complex problems, whether that be invading a country or bailing out a bank.

Bohannon’s presentation harkens back to the ubiquitous Albert Einstein quote, that the authors of the article in Ethos3 mentioned:

If you can’t explain it simply, then you don’t know it well enough.

Find a way to explain and present your information in a simple, compelling way and you will have the attention and respect of your audience. Dancers not needed.

Read the full article in Ethos – Watch the entirety of Bohannon’s talk here.