I think the main difference between then and now was back then, our ideas were already crystallized before we turned to PowerPoint. It was a matter of taking the crystallized ideas and reflecting them in the presentation tool.
Today, I think it's a different story. I think many presentations are actually developed using PowerPoint. The result is a very dense presentation as every thought is reflected in either a slide or a bullet point. I think this is unfortunate. Most people instinctively flinch when presentations begin because they suspect they are going to be subjected to 50 slides with way too much text and a presenter that does little more than read from the slides.
The best presentations are conversations. Visual support is great if it is used as visual support. In this case, the less slides, the better. The slides that are used should be highly visual rather than laden with text.
Personally, I am now experimenting with another presentation tool. It's called Prezi. This tool is forcing me to think much more clearly about what I want to say and only when I am crystal clear on what I want to say and why, do I think about where I might need visual support.
We do live in a highly visual society. As a result, we do need to think about how we present our viewpoints. But this is the point, we need to THINK. Too many presentations are streams of consciousness. They are not succinct and well thought out. Consequently, PowerPoint is used as a crutch for the speaker to remember what they are going to say next rather than a visual support to help the listener gain greater understanding.
I'm sure PowerPoint will be with us for many more years. I just hope we learn to use it and any other presentation tools as supports rather than crutches.
About the Author:
Adrian Davis is a business strategist and trusted advisor for chief executives and business owners. He is a thought-provoking speaker and is frequently called upon to address senior management teams and sales groups on the subjects of corporate strategy, competitive advantage and sales excellence.