To Ban Or Not To Ban Powerpoints

by Andrew Michaels - Date: 2010-05-22 - Word Count: 480 Share This!

When was the last time you attended a briefing or training? I am very sure that none of the speakers spoke without the use of a PowerPoint. These briefings are usually accompanied by a print out of their slides neatly tucked in a professional folder presentation printing.

I opened this discussion with this question because there is a debate raging online these days. The question that has taken much online time is whether PowerPoint actually adds anything to presentations. According to critics, PowerPoint is a tool that has spun out of control. I could understand this because everybody (that includes me) has become so dependent on the slide. Most speakers feel (and that includes me again) that a presentation would never be the same without the aid of a PowerPoint. In fact, a speaker would not start any discussion unless he has this backdrop of a slide introducing the topic as well as his name.

Critics contend that PowerPoint stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making. According to them, PowerPoint tries to 'bullet-ize' issues that are too complex to be expressed in phrases. In the complaints of the military commanders, critics point out that one of the chief issues is the use of 'skimpy bullet points rather than complete, analytically rigorous documents to convey intricate ideas.' In addition to this, it also weakens a person's ability to write to convey an analytical or persuasive point because a slide is, obviously, easier to do.

I disagree with this on the premise that it is not PowerPoint per se but how users use them. What the critics failed to underscore is the fact that PowerPoints are just visual aids - and they should remain as that. It is probably the fault of some speakers to rely heavily on the slides to the point that they just read whatever is written there. I do not know about you, but as soon as I realize that the speaker will just read everything in the slides, I step out of the room because I can just read whatever he is going to say in the handouts. Having said that, PowerPoint presentations should not be viewed as the presentation itself. They are tools for the speakers to visually present a point, a diagram, a picture or a map. Imagine doing a presentation about cutting travel costs of your delivery trucks without showing the travel routes and the map.

PowerPoint presentations are not meant to stand alone. If this is the case then why waste our time listening to a speaker when we can just browse through a printout in a folder printing. The goal is to make the audience pay attention to the speaker and not stare at the overhead illumination. PowerPoint should work for the speaker and not eclipse him or her.

No, PowerPoint is not at all useless. They become so because of the user.

Related Tags: folder printing, folder presentation printing

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