How much do you hate PowerPoint?

Posted on February 22, 2012

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Considering how many people claim they hate PowerPoint, an awful lot of people default to it, at the drop of a hat.

It’s a classic battle of form over content.

Often (not always) appropriate content will work whatever the form – that can mean a flashy opening at a conference, a text document (light- or heavy-weight), even drawings on a cave wall.

Bad content doesn’t work, however much you drop it into a PowerPoint slide. As the saying goes: “Even the best chef can’t make strawberries out of shit.” Trouble is, chefs are really popular right now.

I googled “Powerpoint is…” and the autocomplete provided me, in reverse order, with:

3. “…not receiving sound from the microphone”

2. “…currently printing”

1. “…evil”

I rest my case.

On more than one occasion, I’ve had a 50-word message to send, often a recap of a meeting, and have been asked: “Can you drop it into PowerPoint?”

Why?

Of course the problem is that PowerPoint is – besides being “evil” – meant as a presentation tool but so many people treat a .ppt deck as a document. If someone asks “Can you send me through the deck on that?” no one usually replies “But I won’t be standing next to you to present it.”

It stands in for the memo or letter of decades ago, wrongly so. Worryingly it also stands in for a simple email body or phone call.

At the other end of the spectrum to those who can’t help but fall back on their Microsoft friend are those who take extreme stances. I’m not just talking about banning it from meetings, conferences etc.. How about the Swiss political party whose platform is based on banning PowerPoint?

Too extreme? Not as extreme as a 50-word email that has to become a 50K slide every time.

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Posted in: Work