Death by PowerPoint

There are plenty of reasons to hate Microsoft. But in my mind, PowerPoint isn’t one of them. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is very easy to make a bad presentation in PowerPoint and yes, Microsoft has designed PowerPoint to facilitate that by defaulting to bullet points. So no, they aren’t completely innocent.

But in general PowerPoint gets a bad rap. To mangle an old adage, PowerPoint doesn’t make bad presentations, people do.

PowerPoint actually has some pretty amazing features to help you tell your story (the essence of a great presentation) and you don’t need to know much. The problem is how people use it. I was once assisting a good sized non-profit organization with the development of a high impact presentation that they wanted to use to tell their story and bring in new members. I worked with them to think about their audience, the main points that would resonant and then stories from their work that would illustrate their points. We then collected interesting visuals to help illustrate their ideas throughout their presentation and scripted out some basic jumping off points for each slide and before we knew it, we had the makings of a pretty good presentation.

But then something curious happened. When I went back to the group and showed them the final version, a clean presentation with graphics and almost no text, the response I got back was shock and dismay. Continue reading “Death by PowerPoint”