The problem with PowerPoint


It’s practically part of the English language, admittedly an expletive usually precedes it, and very much embedded within corporate life – PowerPoint! Ask anyone to prepare a presentation and they’ll start up the favoured application* of Microsoft’s Office empire.

I read with interest and a wry smile an article on the BBC’s UK Magazine about PowerPoint hell in which they highlight the main problem – they’re just so boring and I couldn’t agree more! I’ve lost count over the years at the number of presentations I’ve seen with more bullet points adorning a slide than a Wild West shoot ‘em up movie, text size that is unreadable to naked eye and the need to use every colour of the rainbow.

The BBC article, based on PowerPoint’s 25th anniversary, picks up on most of these problems and more. So what can we do the change this? Well, one answer may well be to look East, the Far East actually. Pecha Kucha was devised in Tokyo and could be the way forward from those sleep inducing presentations.

Pecha Kucha is a presentation format in which content can be easily, efficiently and informally shown whereby the presenter shows 20 images for 20 seconds apiece – a total time of 6 minutes, 40 seconds. That’s it. No going over your allotted time, no time for waffle, just straight to the point making it memorable.

I’ve proposed to try this method to with a project team at Ericsson who want to prepare a presentation to employees around Information Security ISO27001. They seem keen to give it a go. If it works, then maybe I can start to rollout more presentations like it – and who knows we could signal the end of death by PowerPoint!

*Just to be clear, my favoured application is NOT PowerPoint, Keynote for the Mac wins hands down. Now if only I could convince the global IT guys to switch us all over to Apple :-)
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