When speakers slam PowerPoint, they say things like:
“You shouldn’t read your presentation.”
“If they can read your presentation, then what extra value do you bring?”
“PowerPoint takes the attention from the speaker – and you’re the reason they are there.”
“John Kennedy didn’t need PowerPoint.”
Well, yes, those are all true. But. Those arguments ignore a few realities. I wish you could have been there when I was sitting in a presentation at the SMX Search Marketing Conference in San Jose recently.
I was not an august presenter. I was a mere audience member. I was there to learn. Every speaker had a PowerPoint. I snickered at the use of PowerPoint. But after a few minutes as a learner, not a speaker, I had an epiphany.
PowerPoint made it easier to learn.
1. I could immediately tell which points were the most important. Most speakers had 10 minutes to present. They spoke fast so they could meet their deadlines. With all that info to digest, where can an audience member focus? It helps to have the key points highlighted on PowerPoint. Thank you, PowerPoint.
2. When speakers mentioned resources, I could see the website addresses and write them down. No time was wasted by people asking speakers to repeat the name of the product or the address and spell it out. As a speaker, I know that I’ve had to do that for audience members who somehow can’t spell “com” as in “dot.com.” Or “Is that a forward slash or a back slash?” Or “What is a hash tag?” Thank you, PowerPoint.
3. Slides that had graphs are worth their weight in gold. Pictures and charts tell stories in ways that words can’t. Thank you, PowerPoint.
4. We all have different learning styles. PowerPoint helps those of us with the visual learning style. Thank you, PowerPoint.
5. PowerPoint also helped to create a permanent record of the information. We could download the slides to review notes and pick up points that flew by quickly. Of course, it would be hard to follow some presentations solely with slides and not the accompanying audio, but the speaker makes better slides than I can take notes. Thank you, PowerPoint.
So there you have it. I am a reformed PowerPoint basher. I have seen the light. I hope I can save future audiences. I’ve had it up to here with the “auditory elite.”
Just because you like to speak, doesn’t mean we like to listen!
What do you like about PowerPoint? Post your answers below.