I recently stumbled across a great quote from Steve Jobs, that 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.