There really isn’t a problem with PowerPoint. The problem is with how so many people use it.
PowerPoint was never intended to be used as a shield for uncomfortable or inexperienced presenters to hide behind. PowerPoint was not developed to be an entertainment tool or act as “filler” for an incomplete presentation. It also was most certainly not designed to be a presenter’s notes.
PowerPoint was developed to enhance a well thought out professional presentation. It is intended to help a speaker present complex concepts where a visual is indeed worth a thousand words.
PowerPoint when used as intended adds to a presentation, it is not the entire presentation.
If you’re playing peek-a-boo with your audience by turning your back on them to read slides then you’re misusing the tool. If you put up a slide and your first words are “I know you can’t see this but….” then you’re misusing the tool.
If you spend more time prettying up your slides then you invest in strengthening your presentation then you’re doing a great disservice to your audience.
If you can’t make an outstanding presentation without your PowerPoint slides then you might not be prepared to make a presentation. If your presentation can’t continue because a light bulb burns out on a projector then you might be using PowerPoint as a crutch.
I’ve seen hundreds of post meeting surveys. I’ve never once seen a speaker receive feedback that said their presentation was terrible but their slides were awesome. PowerPoint will not save a poorly prepared presentation.
Practice your presentation without your slides. Once you’re comfortable with your content and you’re able to explain your key points without assistance then you’re ready to prepare your visuals. That’s the surest way to ensure that your slides are not your presentation but only an enhancement to it.
We’ve all sat through “death by PowerPoint” presentations, the next time you’re in front of a group make sure you’re not the one doing the killing.