In Defense of PowerPoint

We've gone on record as saying the Prezi presentation application is terrific, which, let's face it, carries with it an unspoken assumption that the dominant presentation application -- PowerPoint, of course -- is less than terrific.

 Farhad Manjoo, writing in Slate, defends PowerPoint by identifying some of the common mistakes people make when using it and offering tips for avoiding those mistakes. He writes:

When people write annoying e-mails or make inscrutable spreadsheets, we don’t blame Outlook and Excel; we blame the people. But for many of us, PowerPoint is synonymous with the terrible output it often generates. Because we’ve all been bombarded by so many awful PowerPoint-enabled talks, we’ve come to assume that slide software is a fundamentally bad idea — that PowerPoint is a tool mainly for obfuscation and boredom, and that no good can come of it.

One of Manjoo’s suggestions: “Skip the bullets.” Yes. Any thought on how to diplomatically communicate that to your speakers?

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso formerly was executive editor of Convene.

  • John Potterton, CMP

    The old saying " a picture says a thousand words" is very applicable for effective ppt presentations. Speakers need to learn and apply this philosophy when creating visuals to support their oral presentation. It alsomgreatly increases the likelihood that their presentation will be memorable.

  • Christopher Durso

    Very true, John. As the Slate author says, it's not PowerPoint's fault that many/most people use it to deliver bulleted outlines of their presentations.