Back in 2005, Brigadier General McMaster banned PowerPoint presentations at the US Pentagon, due to serious concerns that it stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision making. He was fed up with complex slides and frustrated that they were being used to hide behind the critical conversations that should have been taking place – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/world/27powerpoint.html?_r=0.
Yet here we are today, almost a decade later, and most organizations continue to taut PowerPoint as the language of business. Shouldn’t we know our material well enough to tell our story without using any slides? If we did, the tone of our message would be more conversational and believable. Our listeners might even perceive us as being more trustworthy and credible. In today’s business world, where leaders are increasingly tasked with being more transparent, isn’t this critical to our success?
Is PowerPoint the enemy? I think not. PowerPoint has its place, but it is not the answer for all communication situations. When you have a critical message to deliver, where you need your listeners to be on board with a new change or a new direction, deliver the message without using slides. Tell a story. Paint a picture of the direction in which you are heading, with your words, and you will be much more likely to inspire others to join you on your journey! It’ll be much better than reading a bunch of bullet points!