PowerPoint Debate Continues

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    It’s an essential skill. What do you think?”

    He is a financial manager, whose his job typically means supervising other salespeople and involves extensive use of presenting materials to people.

    He says, “As a manager or employer, I want people who are good at PowerPoints. It’s an essential skill. What do you think?”

    The above quote is from a colleague on Gov Loop. I am always caught when someone tries to make PowerPoint more than it is: a tool to enhance communication.

    “I personally consider Microsoft PowerPoint presentation development a unique skill. To be an effective PowerPoint jockey, you must be able to structure content, develop clear and persuasive messages, and integrate relevant and meaningful graphics/visuals. It’s not as easy as you think. And it’s critically important because it’s a near fact that business is done on PowerPoint.”

    I consider myself a communicator and I teach communication–even using PowerPoint. The famous presentation’s tool should never be an excuse for what we can say with authority but highlight and emphasize what we want people to go away with. There are people who can manipulate PowerPoint to an art, and indeed, I tell students hitting that button at a particular time will enhance their presentation. I’m good at it; I’m also a good speaker.

    Can I manipulate sure and I will to make my presentation get the attention it deserves. But it’s not about me, it’s about the right mix. Some speakers need PowerPoint to even be heard. Everyone needs training in good communication and that includes the tools we use. Some will always be better than us, but there’s experience and others to helps be the best we can do. It is a unique skill and I am appalled when people are expected (and in my case graded on their ability to use it).

    What we need are classes that make communicators experts at it.

    My discussions include both. I teach college classes in public speaking and creative thinking these days. What we need are classes that make communicators experts at it. If it works the other way, fine–a PowerPoint expert who can be a master communicator, but sell that to the schools for accreditation.

    PowerPoint in the right hands can make a poor speaker a better one, a good speaker an excellent one, but in itself, it is no excuse for bad presenting or bad communication, or bad writing or bad organization. I have found it a tremendous help in what I do. I don’t grade the quality of the PowerPoints; I probably would–if they were a serious part of the curriculum, which they are not, but it seems a required or preferred way of presenting material.

    Teaching school is always an eye-opener. We certainly didn’t use PowerPoint when I was going to school and I am self-taught out of necessity. I became one of the experts in my organization and ironically the reason I was hired became secondary as I helped others develop presentations.

    For more resources about training, see the Training library.

    Today I teach communication, both written and spoken, and write books. I have an E-novel out now that is available with coupon code MF47C until June 19 for $0.99 called In Makr’s Shadow, which I assure you is not a religious book, but a science fiction adventure of tomorrow.

    I also have a short non-novel called The Cave Man Guide for Training and Development. It, too, is available for a pittance, but it is designed for beginning or non-trainers to the most experienced ones who may be interested in a different view. Hope to see you again on another fine training related topic. Happy Training.