Last month in the Australian Financial Review Westpac Chief Executive Brian Hartzer was quoted as saying:
“I think one of the dangers in large companies is that people start to think that their job is to create PowerPoint’s, [rather than] to make decisions and improve things for customers…. I am seriously considering turning PowerPoint off completely.”
He is not the first CEO to feel this way. In 1997 Scott McNealy, then president of Sun Microsystems, banned the use of PowerPoint throughout his company.
Should you be doing the same? Or do you just need to learn how to use PowerPoint more effectively?
Here are three ways you can empower your team and beat PowerPoint into submission
- Look at your company communication culture
Often when I suggest to a client that they need to change the way they deliver their PowerPoint presentations they respond with:
“Oh, we can’t do that. Our manager supplies the templates and slide headings and we MUST do it this way!”
Forcing people to use PowerPoint is pushing them into ‘lecture mode’. People start telling rather than selling and presentations become predictable, long winded and boring.
Your company communication culture starts at the top. Are your managers delivering great presentations or are they presenting with PowerPoint circa 1995?
- Put PowerPoint last
Many people, when asked to deliver a presentation, open their laptops and start cranking out slides.
Instead you should be:
- Setting an objective
- Tailoring your message to your audience
- Developing your topic
- Structuring your presentation
- Making it persuasive
- Including a call to action
PowerPoint should be the last thing on your list before you start practicing and you may find that your presentation is better off without it!
- ‘Flip’ your meetings
This idea comes from the flipped classroom model, where instead of teachers delivering lectures, information is sent out for the students to read and class time is dedicated to discussion which the teacher facilitates.
How this would work for you:
Instead of your team delivering a PowerPoint presentation they would email an executive summary of their recommendations and then facilitate discussion on the pros, cons and suggested improvements for their idea.
So maybe instead of banning PowerPoint, we just need to think a little more about what our message is and how we best get it across to the audience.