Feb 7-11 is “Say No to PowerPoint” week. What a bone-headed idea. I suggest instead “PowerPoint Training Week”.
Saying no to PowerPoint solves the problem for a week. Training people to use PowerPoint solves the problem for a lifetime.
PowerPoint is not the problem. The problem is people approach it like a grade 3 art project or just mindlessly start filling in the PowerPoint bullet point template. That’s not the right way to approach PowerPoint.
So this week, why don’t we try the following things
1. READ a book on how to use PPT better. If you develop PowerPoint slides for internal business presentations, my recommendations are any one these: Speaking PowerPoint, The Visual Slide Revolution, The Seven Slide Solution, Information Dashboard Design and Advanced Presentations by Design.
2. PLAN your deck on paper before you start creating slides. You will resist the impulse to just use bullet points
3. WRITE your slide title out as a full sentence, so the audience doesn’t have to guess what point you are trying to make
4. USE ONE LESS visual ornament. Remove any one of these (your choice): busy template backgrounds, color backgrounds, drop shadows, pointless animations, WordArt
If you manage a team of people, or run a company
5. CALCULATE how much time people are wasting on PowerPoint. Training can cut in HALF the amount of time they spend in PowerPoint. How much would that save your company?
6. HAVE A MEETING after you’ve done these calculations, to decide if you can afford this waste. Don’t just tolerate bad PowerPoint in your company, just as you wouldn’t tolerate poor customer service, slow internet connections or unproductive sales staff.
7. CONDUCT A WORKSHOP. Hire a trainer and have them educate just one group in your company, and see how much their PowerPoint improves. If you live in the Seattle area, I’ll even come out and do a one-hour workshop for free.
PowerPoint is not going away. It’s a critical business skill for the 21st century that combines the persuasive power of pictures and text leading to clearer communications and better decision making.
So, Feb 7-11, don’t say “no” to PowerPoint. Say “yes” to PowerPoint training.
About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the new language of business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.