Is PowerPoint Useless?

According to Harvard, PowerPoint is Useless For Getting An Idea Across.


3 Big Ideas

  • The core issue lies not with PowerPoint itself, but how it's traditionally utilized.
  • Before creating a presentation, identify the key question your audience needs answered, develop a response, and create supporting points that back up your answer.
  • Slideware should be used for its intended purpose: visual storytelling.

According to Harvard, PowerPoint is Useless For Getting An Idea Across

"Harvard just discovered that PowerPoint is worse than useless. Intuitively, anecdotally, and scientifically, PowerPoint may be the worst business tool ever created.’ 

That’s the title of an article published in Inc. in 2019.

We’ve all experienced sitting through lengthy presentations that seem to drag on indefinitely, filled with bullet points and technical terms that are difficult to follow. These presentations bore the audience and cause them to disconnect from the key idea.To avoid this, it is crucial to create a clear and concise message that captures your audience's attention and keeps them engaged for the duration. By reducing jargon, selecting key points, and using logical narratives, you can deliver powerful and memorable presentations that leave a lasting impact on the audience. 

However, we all know that crafting presentations that captivate your audience is no easy feat. The real problem with PowerPoint is that it's easy for your message to get lost in a monotonous sea of bullet points. Of course the issue isn't PowerPoint itself – it's the way you’ve been conditioned to use it. Rather than relying on a deluge of bullet points to get your message across, embrace the power of visual storytelling by employing slides as they were intended – to convey a tale vividly.

Think about it. Instead of just dropping a bunch of numbers and charts on your audience, you can paint a picture where these ideas are living, breathing things. You’re not just throwing data at them; you’re sharing a story that resonates, stimulates thought, and incites action.

Storytelling vs. Bullets in PPT

The Storytelling Solution for Presentations

The next time you find yourself preparing to create a presentation, before you even open your slideware, take a moment to pause and reflect. Ask yourself a series of critical questions that will guide the development of your presentation:

  • What question does your audience need an answer to? For instance, if you're pitching a business proposal, your audience might be wondering, "If I invest $5 million in your venture, do we stand a reasonable chance of achieving a 3x return in the next two years, given the current competitive landscape?"
  • What is your response to this question? In the case of the business proposal, your answer might be a confident, "Yes, we do!"
  • What are 3 support points that will backup your answer? These will be unique to your situation and will require careful thought and preparation.

The responses to these questions form the backbone of your narrative. They create a story arc that says, "This is where we are right now. This is where we want to go. And this is how we're going to get there." This narrative structure places your audience at the heart of the story, making them active participants rather than passive observers.

The point is, get clear about what you’re communicating before you start banging the keys so you can tell the story you really want to tell. A well-crafted narrative has the power to transport your audience through a journey that not only educates but also engages them on an emotive level, something a set of bullet points could never accomplish.

Once you have your narrative structure in place, then use your slideware for its original purpose: visual storytelling. The horizontal layout of slides was designed to mimic the dimensions of a photograph, encouraging the use of visuals to tell a story. Visuals create a lasting impression, helping to cement your message in the minds of your audience. Give the audience a picture that will help them remember the key takeaway.

The Bottom Line - Embrace Storytelling in Presentations

The truth is, presenting is marketing! Presentations are a platform for marketing your ideas, your vision, your products, etc. Crafting an effective presentation requires the same skills needed to create a powerful marketing campaign. 

Don’t be afraid to embrace storytelling in your presentations -  it will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Need some help crafting a high-stakes presentation? We offer a comprehensive training workshop on business storytelling that’s been praised by the likes of Amgen, Belkin and others. Learn more about how you can leverage the power of narrative to deliver compelling, memorable presentations that truly resonate with your audience and drive business forward.

Is PowerPoint Useless?

According to Harvard, PowerPoint is Useless For Getting An Idea Across.

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