Thursday, 16 March 2017

Powerpoint: Media, not Crutch!

With running many business training and development programmes, the use of Powerpoint is a debate that comes up a lot in our line of work. 

We don’t use it at all in our training, unless a client absolutely insists … and that’s only happened 3 times in 17 years.

From senior management to delegates on our courses, most professionals see it as mind-numbing and make a point of checking how many slides there are so they know when to wake up!

One client’s chief executive echoed our beliefs when he sent a memo to his team requesting that if Powerpoint slides were absolutely necessary, people should restrict this to less than 6 slides as “it is critical to avoid this turgid, boring and unproductive style of communication”.  He held that if “Winston Churchill, JFK and MLK didn’t need bullet point slides, then neither do we, as it is often better to just talk - with authority and passion.”

We get many feedbacks from our delegates commending the absence of Powerpoint, particularly the dreaded bullet point slides, from our training.  We’ve even had clients thank our consultants for pitching our business without Powerpoint because they “Couldn’t face one more Powerpoint presentation”.

Delegates on our presentation skills courses, especially, are amazed at how much better and more relaxed they are when they leave the lights on, step away from the laptop and focus on the many more important things like their audience, how to get their attention and involvement, what they want to achieve from the presentation and therefore what’s most important to include, what to say, how to say it, how it’s being received, how to achieve maximum impact, etc. 

By the way, not relying on the Powerpoint crutch also minimises the risk of embarrassing technical problems, where the presenter’s attention is focused on getting the media to work, thereby losing their audience and the credibility of their message.

Of course we agree that, as with all media, there is a role, a time and a place for Powerpoint, however we believe it should SUPPORT your presentation, not BE your presentation!  For example, there are times when images, charts, graphs, designs, photos, etc. can help to illustrate your message, given that we all know a picture can speak a thousand words – but, I’ll say it again as I sign off for now: let it SUPPORT your presentation, not BE your presentation!

PiP Associates, 0113 289 2686,,