Having spent over 15 years working with various presenters all over the world, I have seen more than my fair share of PowerPoint presentations. The good, the bad and the outright appalling!
When I say the word 'presentation', what springs to mind? Most people almost immediately think of the word 'PowerPoint', and more to the point, they think of the term 'Death by PowerPoint'. It's not uncommon today for your audience to ask you or your organisation NOT to deliver a PowerPoint presentation. Have things truly gotten that bad?
Are PowerPoint Presentations always so poor?
In my mind, this request not to deliver a PowerPoint presentation immediately raises the question: is there anything wrong with PowerPoint and are they right to make such a request? Does PowerPoint contribute to the delivery of ineffective presentations? Do your presentations fail because of PowerPoint? On the flip side, do they succeed because you used Prezi or Keynote?
In short, the answer is that neither PowerPoint, Prezi, Keynote or any other presentation software will determine if you succeed or fail to effectively communicate a presentation message to your audience. The software will never be the determining factor to the delivery of an engaging and memorable presentation. I do accept that the default PowerPoint slide layouts don't exactly encourage you to create the most effective of slides. It’s easy to fall into the trap of double tapping to add a title, double tapping to add a bullet point or double tapping to add text. Building a PowerPoint can quickly become very monotonous.
Looking at it another way, if you took the very worst driver you know and put them in a supercar, they would still likely fail to set a faster lap time around a race track than a world class driver in an average family saloon. Arming a fundamentally bad presenter with the best presentation software doesn't magically create a world class presentation. However, supplying a poor presenter with default PowerPoint slides also doesn't help the cause!
The Possibilities of PowerPoint Presentations
This video is a PowerPoint 'presentation' we created for a client. By our definition it's technically not a presentation, but rather a self explanatory animation set to music. After all, a presentation would require a presenter! It shows what can actually be achieved with PowerPoint in the right hands. Irrespective of whether or not you like the music, the branding or the message, you cannot say that PowerPoint isn't capable of creating impressive and compelling presentations.
With an estimated 95% of the presentation software market and over 30 million new PowerPoint presentations created every day, Microsoft PowerPoint is here to stay.