There must be millions of PowerPoint presentation created every day around the world, yet how many of them are created to help the audience remember what the speaker has to say. My personal experience of sitting through presentations or perhaps I should say sleeping through has been that the PowerPoint has really been created to help the speaker get through the session. Hence the term death by PowerPoint or even death by bullet point. I think it is crazy to sit through a presentation and be shown the words at the same time. Most people can’t read and listen at the same time especially if what you are reading at one speed is being presented verbally at a different speed. Wow it’s just brain overload.
Yes staff should learn how to use all the available features of PowerPoint so that their presentation can be put together in the most efficient way, but more importantly I believe they need to think about how using the features actually works to help the audience remember. If all they remember is a dull wordy presentation or they come away with a headache because all they remember was annoying swash/swish sounds every time a bullet point entered the screen then you can safely say the presentation did not work.
They say a picture paints a thousand words and I believe that is so true. Just watch the professionals like the BBC news readers They don’t often have bullet points behind them they have pictures or video and I believe that’s what helps us remember what the news reader has to say. The big difference is they are trained to read but make it seem like they are not reading. Our job as trainers, managers, sales etc. is to have the knowledge, enthusiasm and interest in the subject to get the message across to the audience with our voice and use PowerPoint in such a way they remember. More importantly if there is action to take as a result of your presentation the audience goes away knowing exactly why and what to do and by when. That brings me neatly on to the action. If you tell the audience what action they need to do at the beginning of the presentation then they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.
So to sum up; make sure staff know all the features of PowerPoint and then make sure it’s used to help the audience remember. The most important part of the presentation is the presenter not the PowerPoint.