As a presentation tool, PowerPoint could be considered a classic. In companies around the world, PowerPoint is used by professionals on all levels to communicate important information through a simple slide presentation. In fact, there are over 500 million PowerPoint users, and 30 million PowerPoint presentations created each day around the world. However, just because it’s common and a “classic”, doesn’t make it the best.
Simplicity and ease of use have made PowerPoint a tool that can be leveraged by anyone, but it’s that simplicity that ends up hurting it as a presentation tool. PowerPoint has remained simple through all of its iterations, upgrades, and updates, but it fails to give people the things they need to present information to an audience effectively and efficiently. Especially now, in the age of the digital workplace, PowerPoint has fallen behind and just feels dated.
If you’re not convinced that PowerPoint isn’t as great of a presentation tool as you may think it is, here are the top 7 reasons that you should stop using it and find a different presentation tool instead.
#1: It’s Not Interactive
Today, most people opt to get their daily dose of information through social media, logging on through their smartphone and scrolling through their feed to see the latest trending stories. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and all the other social platforms, it’s estimated that there are over 3 billion social media users around the globe. But what is it about the social media that makes it our favorite information resource? The fact that it’s interactive. The ability for people to comment, like, share, and much more puts power in the hands of the audience, which allows them to be more involved with the information they’re seeing.
Now, put those same 3 billion social media users in a room and give them a PowerPoint presentation, the likelihood is that they’ll be disinterested and disengaged. Their ability to involve themselves in the content isn’t an option with PowerPoint, so they tune it out or shift their focus elsewhere, because a PowerPoint presentation goes one way – to the audience. There’s no collaboration, no active participation, no outlet for the audience to share their thoughts, and just no reason to actually engage with the slides. Without that interactivity, the audience just doesn’t connect and is never engaged, and the information in the presentation never makes its way into their memory.
While presenters can still try to add interactive elements to their presentations, PowerPoint makes them difficult to carry out. For example, having a question and answer section in your deck requires you to stop the flow of your presentation and call on your audience for them to share their answers one at a time. This limits the amount of participation that you get based on how much time you can spend on that section, meaning that you’ll only be engaging the small percentage of your audience that actually gets to answer. If you don’t want to put a limit on the interactivity of your presentation, you can opt for a digital presentation with Q&A functionality to get answers from your viewers, in addition to other interactive features like quizzes or comments.
#2: Decks Take Too Long To Make
Whenever you’re working with something that’s heavily visual, the design plays a very important role, which is why there are people whose entire career is just graphic design. As any graphic designer could tell you, things like text font, image sizes, colors, and even empty space can make or break a piece of visual content, such as a PowerPoint slide. The issue here is that when you’re working with PowerPoint and you don’t have any knowledge of graphic design, the effectiveness of your presentation can plummet. Bad text placement, distracting font, or jarring transitions from slide to slide can disconnect your presentation from your audience rather quickly. To make matters worse, different audiences can respond to slide design differently, making it even more difficult to create an effective presentation with PowerPoint.
Beyond excessive time spent on slide design, users also run into a time issue just making all the slides they need. For an average presentation, a user will have 1 slide for every 2 minutes of the presentation. Let’s take the example of a 1-hour training session for a new group of employees at a company. That 1-hour training presentation would have 30 slides, which could take the presenter hours to make. Also, if the creator needs to update all the slides in the presentation, they may need to go through each slide one by one to make those changes. Compare that to filming a quick, interactive video for 5 to 10 minutes that also has versioning capabilities so the creator can simply update various components of their presentation in just a few quick steps, and you’ll find that you’re wasting valuable time by choosing PowerPoint.
#3: It Splits Attention & Debilitates Learning
During a PowerPoint presentation the audience has two sources of information that are vying for their attention at all times. They can either focus on the presenter’s speech and absorb the information they’re hearing, or they can focus on the PowerPoint and absorb what that they’re seeing. If the presenter is simply reading off the slides, this split wouldn’t really be a problem, but at the same time, it makes the presence of the presenter almost pointless.
On the contrary, if the presenter is offering more information than what’s present on the slide, or the slide contains visuals that are designed to complement the presenter, the audience now has the difficult task of splitting their attention to accommodate both information sources. Without being able to focus on one source, they become less likely to retain the information that’s being presented to them. Even worse, those in the audience who chose to focus solely on either the presenter or the PowerPoint potentially miss out on a great deal of important information.
#4: It Hinders The Presenters
While PowerPoint is widely considered a visual tool that can enhance presentations, it more often functions as a crutch for presenters. For those who don’t have the most fine-tuned presenting skills, it’s easy for them to simply read the slides or lean too heavily on the PowerPoint to convey the information. If one gets into this habit, it can be difficult to break out of it, while also preventing them from ever improving their own presentation skills.
PowerPoint also limits the presenter’s style, since PowerPoint presentations are mostly linear, going from one slide to the next. This puts more dynamic presenting approaches off the table, as they can interrupt the PowerPoint and break the audience’s engagement. For example, if a presenter wants to show an in-person demonstration during their presentation, there’s no way to smoothly transition into it after coming from slide format. The same idea applies to a situation where an audience member asks a question about some information on past slides, as the presenter would need to cycle back through the slides to the information and question, and then cycle all the way back to where they were.
To counteract the linear restriction, companies are moving towards a more narrative structure, due to our brains being naturally hardwired to process, understand, and engage a story. It’s the same reason that Amazon’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, has banned the use of PowerPoint in company meetings. Instead, his teams spend the first 30 minutes of the meeting reading a multi-page memo with a narrative structure in order to improve learning and engagement with everyone involved.
In situations where more than one person is involved in putting together a presentation, they will also come across some roadblocks, as PowerPoint limits the ability for teammates to collaborate easily. While PowerPoint slides can be shared and edited simultaneously, essential components of efficient and effective collaboration are not taken into consideration such as task management with assigned duties and notifications, seamless access on any device, approval workflow functionality, or integration into the existing communication and collaboration structure at a company. Without these features, PowerPoint users are left to their own devices and find other ways to collaborate, taking more time and lowering the team’s overall productivity.
#5: Lack of Analytics
Creating the perfect presentation isn’t impossible, but it is extremely rare and very hard to do. That’s why it’s so important to have solutions in place that will provide the presenter with feedback and data so the presentation itself can be updated and improved for the future. Unfortunately, PowerPoint does provide an analytics dashboard, leaving the presenter with no information that they can work off of, unless they follow up with the audience directly. This makes improving the presentation, let along gauging its effectiveness, extremely difficult.
Even something as simple as a ratings and comments system can provide presenters with invaluable information that can end up transforming presentations for the better. Imagine being able to get immediate responses from your audience, rating how informative or fun your presentation was. You could even take a quick poll to see if your audience felt that the presentation itself was even necessary, which could be useful for cutting out inefficiencies in things such as corporate training programs. Comments allow you to get even more insight from your viewers, cluing you into what they didn’t like about the presentation, why, and ways that you can improve your presentation.
Control over your own content is something every creator should have. Especially for presenters in the corporate environment that are working with proprietary information, being able to maintain control and limit access to their work is vital. Unfortunately, PowerPoint is extremely lacking in security, and one wrong move could make it easy for your presentation and any valuable information in it to be shared with anyone, by anyone, without you even knowing.
The moment you hit share on your PowerPoint presentation, or you send the file with a colleague, that presentation is no longer under your control. Whether you sent it to one person or several, each of them can share that presentation with someone else or save it to repurpose make modifications that you do not approve of. Without the ability to limit access and sharing, you cannot protect any important data or proprietary information. If you’re looking for something to protect the content you create with things like an encryption or information backup, you’ll need to look elsewhere as PowerPoint’s security is bare bones if not nonexistent.
#7: There Are Better Solutions
Out of the 500 million PowerPoint users in the world, over 120 million of those people use PowerPoint to create presentations in a business environment, which means that it’s still very likely that you currently use and may continue to use PowerPoint for your own work. However, you should know that PowerPoint is not your only choice for presentations, as there are solutions available that are better for both you and your audience that you should be aware of.
There are methods for creating more engaging presentations that are easier than putting together a deck of slides and come fully equipped with tools that will set you up for success, from security and analytics to collaboration and content management.
While PowerPoint may seem like the simple, quick solution that you can turn to when you need to give a presentation, you don’t have to look far to find something that’s much better. SpeachMe allows you to quickly create brief interactive presentations optimized for maximum impact that feature video captured on a smartphone, tablet or webcam combined with existing media and documents. Hyperlinks, screen captures, and images can also be included. Speaches consistent of 60% video and 40% rich media and can be divided into chapters. They’re easy to share and secure.
By leaving PowerPoint behind and using an interactive video presentation solution, you’re preventing yourself and the quality of your presentations, from being dragged down or remaining stagnant. Instead, you will see all the new opportunities that become available to you with other presentation solutions, taking whatever you used to do with PowerPoint, and making it flat-out better.