Steve Jobs, On PowerPoint

One of my favorite quotes from the late Steve Jobs captures exactly how we feel about PowerPoint here at The Latimer Group:

“I hate the way people use slide presentations instead of thinking. People confront problems by creating presentations. I want them to engage, to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. People who know what they are talking about don’t need PowerPoint.

Exactly. I could almost end the blog post right here. But I want to share another thought or two.

The information we report out to our colleagues, clients and customers matters… a lot. So I don’t agree with the extent of what Steve Jobs said on this topic. There are times when PowerPoint is necessary. But I agree completely with his essential point that the creation of a PowerPoint is all too often used as a crutch, and a replacement for critical thinking. Far too many people begin their preparation by opening PowerPoint and creating a slide deck, or editing an existing one.

Put PowerPoint away, at least for now. Do some thinking, some planning. Think about what you want to say, and need to say. Think about your audience, and how you can connect your topic with them. Think about how to make it interesting, and valuable.

And then, when you think you absolutely, positively need to have a slide deck to back you up, then so be it… create a PowerPoint.

But don’t ever let the creation of a slide deck become your process. The slide deck should be an outcome of your process, not the process itself.

Good luck!

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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3 responses to “Steve Jobs, On PowerPoint”

  1. Michael McCracken says:

    Hi Dean, and Group,
    I agree with both you and Steve. There are times for Power Point presentations to create a visual that is hard to describe and times you don’t even need it. There are many times when I have been forced to create a presentation when it was wasted time that I could have been spent thinking. I think most will agree, the best speeches, presentations, movies, books, or art have some form of passion to capture the attention and passion of the audience. This is especially needed if the intent is to create change.

  2. […] Put PowerPoint away, at least for now […]

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Dean Brenner

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.