The speaker arises to present and flashes up on the screen his or her first slide. Almost immediately you can hear the silent groan from the audience. They are all thinking the same thoughts “not another PowerPoint presentation. We hear so many people say “that would have been a great presentation if they never used PowerPoint.” In reality for most presentations PowerPoint does suck.
Below I am listing 3 reasons why PowerPoint sucks:
1. It’s too easy to use.
“Isn’t that the benefit of slide design software?” I hear you say. The truth is that it is so easy to use that most presenters no longer structure their presentation with pen and paper but rather use the software to structure the presentation. It is now easy to list all your key and supporting points on the screen for the presenter and the audience to follow along with the click of a button. This is cool because now the audience now can not only hear what you are saying but has the option of reading along with you (I am joking about the cool bit)
The problem with designing your presentation on PowerPoint is that it restricts the mind to what is before you on the screen.
2. Too many tools.
PowerPoint now provides presenters with a variety of tools to use in their presentation. We are able to add a variety of shapes, text boxes, builds and animations to spice up the slide (if it’s moving it must be better right). While I do love the tools that we have at our disposal most presenters think they need to use them all and worse many on a single slide. This is most common with builds and animations where it seems necessary to have objects fly in and out of the screen to apparently attract attention. In reality it will send your audience into a spin.
3. It aids lazy presenters.
Because of the ease of use and the tools available presenters no longer prepare as well for their presentations. It is common to hear people say “I have a presentation to deliver tomorrow, I will just whip it up tonight. Before PowerPoint presenters needed to think about the words they would use to paint a picture into the minds of the audience and if they wanted visuals they would need to create slides often from images they took themselves.
Now with PowerPoint presenters can easily use the images that come with the software or go online and easily add images found on the world wide web. This does nothing to differentiate one presenter from the other as they now all look the same taking away any personal touch.
PowerPoint can be a powerful tool to enhance our message.
At the end of the day it is not the software that sucks but the user of the software.
PowerPoint can be a very powerful tool but I also strongly advise that the software not be used to deliver a presentation if it is being used in the manner that has been listed above.
Think about the structure of the presentation before opening up PowerPoint. Design the presentation for the ears first before designing for the eyes. Most of all be different, create your own unique style and stand out whether you use PowerPoint or not.
PowerPoint™ is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
Please note that even though I use PowerPoint as the example I am of course referring to all presentation software.