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Why PowerPoint is Destroying Business

March 9th, 2010 | Small Business | 1 Comment »

I know this phrase has jumped the shark, but the use of PowerPoint has officially jumped the shark.  Don’t get me wrong, PowerPoint is a very useful tool, but I think we’re now addicted to its use.  In my day job, you can’t have a simple meeting with out putting together a “deck”.  And sometimes, and I’m not kidding about this, we do a summary “deck” of other “decks” we’ve reviewed in the past.  There are also education PowerPoint presentations that teach you the latest in presentation tips.  In my mind, this over-reliance on bullet point communication is destroying business communication.  How?  Let me explain in the following bullet points:

  • Encouraging Business ADD: First thing you do when you’re in a meeting and you receive a powerpoint print out.  Due you walk through each page, as intended by the presenter (who has taken a lot of time preparing for the meeting)?  Nope.  You flip ahead and start focusing on anything other than what you’re supposed to be.  And you have way too much time to review a summary slide, figuring out a very specific question that shouldn’t be included on a big-picture slide.
  • Style Over Substance:  Instead of working on the actual message, you spend hours trying to determine which is more persuasive — a circle graphic or a pyramid graphic.  In one of my last presentations, the only question I received was on my color selection. Never mind the actual work product…they didn’t like the use of light green.
  • How to Create a Damn Pyramid:  Ok.  It’s clear, that a pyramid shape best conveys what your point.  The only question is how in the hell do I create a Pyramid graphic?  I know there is the “Smart Art” tool, but it only insures that the presentation looks like every other corporate deck created by someone that doesn’t know how to do a presentation.
  • Squeezing Complicated Concepts into a Bullet-Point:  You’ve got that wonderfully persuasive Pyramid graphic.  Unfortunately, you don’t want to include all the relevant information, because it doesn’t fit well into the slide.  So what do you do?  See the next problem.
  • Slide Pride:  When you have a beautiful slide and you don’t want to burden it with content, you…create another slide.  This relates to the college equivalent of “feels like an A” syndrome.  If you have 40 slides, it must be thorough.  You know you have a real problem when you create an Appendix — a place to store all of the slides you’ve created but can’t really find the right place to include them.

Am I alone in hating the overuse of PowerPoint?  Let me know.

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