"Everyday engagement"

Death by PowerPoint, time for another way to present?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

As the end of the year draws close, new strategies and end of year targets are now on the horizon. You're considering how to present results to your company. This is probably what you will end up staring at for the next few hours..

PowerPoint has changed the way businesses operate since its humble beginnings. Starting life as a program called Presenter on the Macintosh in 1987, today over 150 million PowerPoint presentations are created each week. Is the reason for its use habit or necessity? 

In recent years, there has been a small but noticeable shift away from PowerPoint. This movement has even spawned a political party opposed to its use. In fact one of the ideas behind VideoScribe was to create a way to present without bullet points. 

So why should you turn away from the veteran presentation tool and use alternatives like VideoScribe?

In PowerPoint there is no narrative text, just text

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and one of the world’s most influential people, banned the use of PowerPoint in his company in June 2004. Bezos said "A well-structured, narrative text is what we're after rather than just text" as the basis of presentations because "The narrative structure of a good memo forces better thought and better understanding of what's more important than what, and how things are related."

We totally relate with this position and go one step further with VideoScribe. 

Writing an engaging story or narrative is the cornerstone of any great scribe. From beginners to professional whiteboard creators, if you have the right narrative and emotional appeal, everything else will fall into place.

Important information gets lost

Edward Tufte, author of the "The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint" writes that important information gets truncated when using PowerPoint presentations.

Basically this means that the presenter is trying to cram too much information into a single presentation, usually as bullet points.

Once the next slide is on the screen, the former slide is quickly forgotten while your brain prepares for new information.

Tufte also points out that the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (the board that investigated the Columbia space shuttle explosion) found NASA had become too reliant on presenting complex information via PowerPoint. 

One of Sparkol's earliest taglines was 'Dodging bullets since 2008’ with a view to create a way to present without bullet points. The mission was to create a visualisation of the message or story you wished to convey.

This is a principle we still strive to accomplish today.

Teaching skills are lost and learners are the losers

Dr Paul Donovan, a university lecturer at Maynooth University who also utilizes flipped learning has stopped using PowerPoint in teaching completely. He has reconnected with his other teaching skills as a result.

"In my classes, PowerPoint was getting in the way of better student education, so I banned it. Classes without PowerPoint are more effective, but they require more work. Now I spend more time designing sessions. Going without slides has forced me to go back to my tools: the tools of the teacher."

Death by PowerPoint

If you have not experienced this phenomena, you should be commended and elevated to a social status us mere mortals could not hope to achieve.

The phrase has its own urban dictionary entry and is a blight in training sessions and boardrooms all over the world.

Matthias Poehm, author of "The PowerPoint Fallacy: Still Presenting or Already Fascinating?" writes, "95% of all presentations today are given using a projector and PowerPoint. Yet what some people consider to be professional often completely destroys the effect on the audience. PowerPoint does not make for entertainment but rather for boredom. That is due to the fundamental concept of PowerPoint, not to how it is used!"

The implication is that PowerPoint's design inevitably draws the presenter into a less engaging process than other forms of presenting. Adding full notes as slides, repeating exactly what is on the presentation and the dreaded bullet points!

Why use VideoScribe instead of PowerPoint?

The process of taking a script or speech and turning it into a visual presentation enables a real focus on the content of the message. Research shows that 70% of learning is attained visually, so making the visual element engaging and relevant is important.

Rather than trying to break down a script into slides or bullet points, the emphasis is on the original content and finding ways to enhance rather than to recreate it to fit a tool.

Videos are easier to transport to other platforms. Sharing a video is much easier than sharing a PPT. Platforms like YouTube mean that your presentations can reach a global audience quickly without the need of the correct software. You simply press play and away you go.

VideoScribe helps the presenter focus on the design of the presentation, enriching it and controlling where the focus should be. People will compelled to see what is drawn next with voice and audio keeping the flow of the message.

Next time you're tempted by PowerPoint, try VideoScribe instead.

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