Why I Depise PowerPoint

It seems like we live in a PowerPoint world these days. As a provider of financial services solutions, my day is filled with meeting after meeting and presentation after presentation. The vast majority of these meetings are over the phone – especially for those ‘first’ appointments.

And of course, the medium of choice is our old friend PPT. Couple that with WebEx – and you’ve got yourself a meeting! It is from there that it is all downhill. After spending hours and sometimes days crafting this masterpiece – the meeting kicks off and jumps right to the AGENDA. From there, you jump into the next slide, the next and so on.

All the while, your audience is on the other end and you have no earthly idea what is happening. Are they sleeping, are they listening or are they busy catching up on their last week of emails. I don’t know. I do try to periodically check in and ask if there are any questions. Sometimes that gives you a clue, when there is about a 10 second pause, and then: “Sorry – I had you on mute.” Or even better yet, when they put you on hold and they have some lovely music playing in the background.

When they are engaged and asking questions, it is more often than not that these questions lead me to jump past slides or abandon the carefully crafted deck all together.

Because of this – I avoid PPT at all costs. Sometimes it is the necessary evil – especially when you have a large audience and you have information that needs to be on the printed page. However, more often that not, the carefully crafted deck is useless and a complete waste of time.

Especially when you are on a first appointment and your job is not to present your latest gadget, but to listen and discover. I can’t solve a problem if I don’t know what the problem is or they do not understand yet what their problem might be.

To me, PPT has become a crutch for verbal vomiting and self adulation and comes at the expense of valuable dialogue. I will be speaking at a conference in October, and of course the first thing they did was send me instructions about when and how to upload my PPT. I wonder what they are going to think when I say “I don’t have one”.

Here’s a recent blog on the best and worst of PowerPoint.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8213901.stm

Date Posted: September 16, 2009 Author: Category:   IDI Blog

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