PowerPoint. Is it a crutch or a tool?Old Powerpoint logo

Some think it’s a tool; others think it’s a crutch. For good reason. 

PowerPoint, in my opinion, is widely misused.

My Take
PowerPoint is both a tool and a crutch.

Below are my six guidelines for creating a PowerPoint to complement a speech.

1. If you’re using a quote, do not write out the quote on the screen. Put it on a note card and read it. Put a picture of the person who said it on the screen.

2. Use mostly images that correspond with the point you’re talking about, rather than text.

3. Read all statistics off of a note card. Cite statistics and provide the date the statistic was published. This reduces error and improves your credibility.

4. Don’t show ordinary graphs created in PowerPoint or Excel.
(i.e. If you’re talking about Web site traffic, use a computer mouse instead of generic red lines to represent traffic on a bar graph. It will reinforce the point you’re making.)

5. Use transition slides.
(i.e. if you move from talking about what your company can do to how you will benefit a client, make a slide that simply says "the benefits of working with us" and make your transition while that slide is on the screen.)

Transition slides prepares people for what is to come.

6. Check your Work.
If you can e-mail your presentation to someone else that has no prior knowledge on the topic and they understand the gist of your presentation, you’ve created a terrible PowerPoint presentation.

Rule #6 is critically important. If you’ve followed the first five rules, this should never happen.

After all, you’re giving the presentation, and taking up your audiences time to do so.

If someone can read the slides and understand the point of the presentation, then e-mail the slides and let your audience read it at their leisure.

Other Great Posts about using PowerPoint effectively

Really Bad PowerPoint – Seth Godin

10/20/30 Rule
– Guy Kawasaki