The Anti-PowerPoint Political Party – Revolution? What Revolution?

Thursday, July 21st, 2011 by Simon Morton

Whilst Europe flaps around in a blind panic about the strength of the Euro, the Swiss political landscape is set to change as Mr Mattheus Poehm launches his new political party – APPP also known as the Anti-PowerPoint Political Party.

Do not adjust your sets nor check the diary to see if it’s the 1st April – this is for real.

Whilst it’s easy to mock, Mr Poehm raises an old but albeit fair point about the ineffectiveness of PowerPoint and presentation software in general.  There are elements of his argument that stack up – let’s face it, Eyeful continues to grow massively year on year because of the prevalence of “Death by PowerPoint” in business today.

Amnesty-StickerHowever there are some fairly major areas that we tend to disagree on.

Firstly – the problem isn’t the software…and the proof is out there if you look hard enough or are lucky enough to be sat in the right place at the right time.

Two of the best presentations we’ve seen in the last year were done with the aid of PowerPoint.

The first had 9 slides with about 20 words (in total) on and lasted 20 minutes and the second had about 50 slides on and lasted 30 minutes.

Both were vastly different but had 1 thing in common – they were very good. The key phrase here is “done with the aid of PowerPoint”.

The problem that Mr Poehm doesn’t really tackle is the quality of the presentation (not the slideware!).  Let’s make one thing clear – presentations fail because of poorly prepared or unskilled presenters.

“Death by PowerPoint” is a symptom of a presenter who hasn’t committed sufficient time, energy or thought to the creation of a key message, compelling and relevant content or considerate design.  It’s that simple.

Secondly – we disagree is on his unilateral move to flip charts. Certainly flip charts are a good tool to use when presenting – they bring interactivity to proceedings that can sometimes be lacking in PowerPoint.  They also can enliven and enthuse a presenter.

But, just like PowerPoint, flip charts can also be used badly to bore and alienate an audience.  As the saying goes – “a fool with a tool is still a fool”.

The cynic in me might think that Mr Poehm has some shares in a flip chart company, or that this is a shameless PR stunt that is really only about selling a book he happens to have just published. Fortunately that’s just the cynic in me, and I try to keep that at bay…

Whatever your view, ours is still pretty firm. PowerPoint can be awful, that’s true…but it can also be awesome.

It all depends on how you use it…

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