Recently I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the art of presentation (sad, isn’t it?) and have to confess to an ongoing interest in the use of PowerPoint and, particularly, an interest in showing that this veteran program still has much to offer. Despite the competition from relative newcomers like SlideRocket and Prezi, not to mention a whole raft of other online pretenders to the presentation throne, the old stager still puts up a pretty good fight. In fact, I would go as far as to say that PowerPoint has a depth of capability and ease of use that keeps it some way ahead of the rest. Anything Microsoft may be deeply unfashionable, but that doesn’t make it bad.
For a humorous view of what we all know as death by PowerPoint, there is always the classic Don McMillan sketch.
So, you see, what makes people think PowerPoint is bad (Power corrupts, PowerPoint corrupts absolutely, and all that) is the fact that the vast majority of the PowerPoint presentations they have seen are bad. Too much text, too many bullet points, poor layout, misuse of animation, you know the score. Well used, PowerPoint can be absolutely dazzling – just see what people like Eyeful can do with it, if you don’t believe me. And for some really good practical advice about what works, I like this presentation.
I don’t make any claims to be a skilled author in PowerPoint, but – having gone through the I hate PowerPoint phase myself a couple of years ago – I think there’s a lot of fun to be had in learning to use it well. Largely as a exercise in self-motivation, I set up another blog frenchpowerpoints, spurred on by the dismal realisation that I had actually authored very few presentations that are up to much. My (probably vain) hope is that I will be motivated to spend some time creating presentations that are not entirely run of the mill. The latest entry is this one.
The original PowerPoint version is here.