PowerPoint is Becoming Corporate Karaoke
Have you ever been bored by a PowerPoint presentation? Of course you have – it’s an endless succession of bullet points, cheesy graphics and lame special effects. And the presenter regurgitates everything that’s on a slide you’ve already read. Let’s call PowerPoint what it really is—corporate karaoke. We endure it even though it bores audiences, trivializes content and pushes speakers to the side of the stage where they interact with their slides instead of the audience.
More and more people have come to equate giving a presentation with using PowerPoint. But PowerPoint, even when used well, should be used sparingly. PowerPoint addresses what pop psychology calls “left brain” thinking: people’s logical, linear and analytic way of reasoning. It’s the Sergeant Joe Friday approach to reality: “Just the facts, ma’am.” Especially in the workplace, you’ll often need to give precisely that type of presentation; project updates, technical briefings, financial reports, economic forecasts and product demonstrations are all about presenting information.
But there are many times, even in business presentations, when you’ll want to appeal to people’s “right brain” thinking: their intuition, emotions and ability to see the big picture. Sales experts know people don’t buy anything—a product, a service or even an idea—based simply on logic. So, the more you want to sell what you have or what you know, the more you will need to appeal to people’s emotions and imaginations. These are times when you should steer clear of PowerPoint.
For example, PowerPoint won’t help you motivate or inspire your listeners. Coaches during halftime, commanders sending troops into battle, and preachers in the pulpit would never—hopefully—use PowerPoint. And neither should you when you’re trying to rally your troops. Whether or not PowerPoint is called for, you can increase the impact of your speech or presentation by decreasing your reliance on it and following these rules: