This headline was in the Evening Standard today, “Lumley set to win Gurkha campaign”. The way she did this, with charm and passion, was the subject of recent post, Easy Opening , on May 7th.
And she won without using PowerPoint!
Of course it has its uses. For some theatre style presentations, for much repeated product demonstration, but too often because it is easy to create and cheap.
For most pitches, however, when a small team of four, or so, is presenting to a similiar number, beware! It inhibits story telling and dilutes personal impact as the screen takes over.
As Malcolm Gladwell, of Blink and Tipping Point fame, said recently….” he was a firm believer in the axiom Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely. PowerPoint has destroyed storytelling”.
Take a look at this amusing demonstration of how Lincoln might have used PowerPoint for his Gettysburg address:
I am not alone in saying beware of ‘death by powerpoint’. It is the seemingly inevitable first port of call for most presentations. It is inexpensive, efficient, easy to create, can be the basis of a leave-behind and, properly used, can aid communication.
For these reasons you find that at rehearsal, assuming one takes place, (mandatory says pitchcoach!) people automatically turn up, powerpoint poised. It’s only at the rehearsal, and not always then, that discussion takes place on what would be the best form of communication to create impact. And, surprise, powerpoint is not always the answer.
Two stories illustrate this. Some years ago, with a high quality powerpoint presentation, I delivered a platform speech at a conference. It seemed to go ok but it was blown away by the next speaker, a famous academic and skilled lecturer. He used a single scruffy acetate on an overhead projector ( remember them?) and mesmerised the audience. It was the way he said it! I felt foolish and lost the powerpoint habit.
Recently, I was involved in a pitch workshop. One excercise called for six teams to take the brief, with 60 minutes to prepare and then deliver a ten minute pitch, using flipcharts or powerpoint. To add challenge, ‘rules’ altered at last second. One team only was told they could not use any of their prepared visuals. It was this team that scored highest on the “communicated best” measure. They had no charts to ‘vampire ‘ them, and talked directly to their audience.
People buy people, not their charts.