Why you should not ‘ditch the PowerPoint’

PowerPoint has earned a reputation as a relic that makes presentations less effective, but it’s a useful tool that speakers often misuse.

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National Public Radio recently ran a piece with an attention-grabbing headline: “Physicists, Generals And CEOs Agree: Ditch The PowerPoint.”

Like similar stories before it, the argument went as follows: PowerPoint prevents two-way engagement, PowerPoint makes the speaker go on autopilot, PowerPoint prevents people from reducing their points to their essential core.

As one Rutgers University professor said, “The main advantage of forgoing PowerPoint is that it forces both the speaker and the listener to pay attention.”

The story—and the people quoted in it—are blaming the wrong problem. PowerPoint isn’t the problem. It’s a tool that’s only as good—or as bad—as its users. The problem is the misuse of PowerPoint by far too many speakers.

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