Even if you’re not experienced in the field of presentation design, chances are you have an opinion about PowerPoint. And, like most people, you probably either love it or hate it.
This contentious and oft maligned program has been a source of debate for many years. Some see it as clunky and difficult to use. Others even suggest that it is directly responsible for the decline in the quality of communications in our culture at large, and that it’s the source of endless time wasting and unproductive work environments.
But as a presentation design & storytelling agency, we beg to differ.
PowerPoint is a tool that, when used effectively, can greatly improve comprehension and retention of information following a presentation. And achieving that isn’t some magical feat or complex task that’s beyond the grasp of the average user. It simply takes using good design principles, and understanding what goes into an effective presentation.
Our presentation designers note that one of the biggest misconceptions about PowerPoint is that creating a presentation is simply a matter of dropping information onto a slide. This stems from the fact that PowerPoint is actually very simple to use. This leads users to crowd single slides with as much information as they can, often leading to complex topics being made even more difficult to understand. The contradiction is clear: PowerPoint is both too simple and too complex.
But the value of PowerPoint shouldn’t be so easily dismissed. Like many other digital tools, it’s had a democratizing effect on the sharing of information. It’s allowed any user the ability to create and share information, without any design background or training, and brought a more accessible way to share to millions of businesses. And like any tool, with time and education it can be used to tell rich, complex stories in an easily understandable way.
One response to PowerPoint has been to abandon presentations altogether, in favor or long-from memos. When Amazon banned PowerPoint from being used in executive meetings, the result was that “instead of reading bullet points on a PowerPoint slide, everyone sits silently for about 30 minutes to read a "’six-page memo that's narratively structured with real sentences, topic sentences, verbs, and nouns.’”
But longer isn’t always better. And with a considered and well-crafted presentation, you may find that your employees will actually retain more information than they would scanning a large six-page memo.