Do good presenters need Powerpoint?

SimonGeneral3 Comments

That beloved business tool, Microsoft Powerpoint, was the topic of much discussion in the office yesterday.

The main talking point was whether good presenters need Powerpoint or not.

All too often I see presentations where the Powerpoint slides seem to take over – the combination of flashy graphics, unnecessary transitions and the way the presenter seems led by the slides, rather than the flow of the presentation itself combine to detract from the overall impact.

Yet some of the best presentations I’ve seen have used Powerpoint. It’s been used as a visual aid for the audience, not the presenter. The presenter has had the skill to ensure that the main focus of the audience’s attention is their content, not what’s on the screen.

Personally I do use Powerpoint in most presentations I do, but I make a real effort to use it as an occasional aid and focus on showing pictures rather than words.

I write my initial presentations in Powerpoint, but then hide most of the slides with words on that guide what I say, and keep images, screenshots, video and audio that supports, rather than dictates, what I’m saying.

3 Comments on “Do good presenters need Powerpoint?”

  1. Ian Green

    I hate PP – but it does perform a function. The key is to ensure viewers concentrate on the message and not on the PP. I think a good PP is a work of art/communication but should only be there as an aide memoir.
    I’m still amazed when I do a PP people ask me to send them the PP after the event.
    Best advice is flap your arms around when you present – the audience then concentrates on you and not the PP.
    BTW – PP in France might not go down too well!

  2. Andrew Wake

    Interesting post and I agree completely with yourself and Ian on this one. We see so many presentations in our line of work and the worst case scenario is a speaker who crams in the text and then reads every line off the screen with their back to the audience.

    Powerpoint is an aid not a crutch! Bullet points and pictures are the way to go.

  3. simon

    Ian – it’s interesting what you say about people asking for the slides after the presentation – a few years back I did that, but stopped when I realised that most made absolutely no sense by themselves – and quite rightly so.

    Andy – “aid not a crutch” – spot on!

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