Who was to know that PowerPoint decks, a way of creating visual presentations that can be used as a standalone document or presented to an audience, would become such a powerful mode of communication?
The ease with which one can condense information into bite-size pieces, cleverly combine text with images, graphs, and diagrams, and that too with good resolution makes it a favorite for management consultants, sales & marketing teams and executives at all levels. When you are getting ready to present a business plan or strategy recommendations to your client/higher-ups, the PowerPoint format seems the first choice.
Here is an interesting link to follow if you want to know Everything about PowerPoint formatting.
So, are presentation decks, whether in Keynote or PowerPoint, here to stay? Or will a new technology or software make them redundant?
An interesting post on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog, featuring an interview with Nancy Duarte, says this in the intro - Today, presentations, whether they’re created with PowerPoint, Prezi or other tools, are more important than ever and have more scale than ever when LinkedIn SlideShare can place your presentation in front of 70 million monthly visitors.
So, looks like PowerPoint slides, or slide decks for that matter, are here to stay!
Wait! Read this. Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, in 2013, had recommended eliminating presentations at meetings!
Hmm! So, are presentation decks here to stay or not? Is the post on LinkedIn Marketing solutions contradicting what the CEO of LinkedIn said?
No! Not at all.
Banned from Meetings, But Circulated Ahead of Them
What Jeff Weiner was suggesting was, for people to circulate the material a day in advance, so it could be read and processed by everybody. He did not want people to waste time presenting them. He did not say not to use PowerPoint as a medium of communication.
Instead, he wanted meetings to be more productive. No need to have somebody stand up, with a big screen behind them, making a verbal presentation with a PowerPoint deck. Instead create decks that communicate clearly the points you want to make, or take consensus on, and pass them ahead of the meeting.
In 2012, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, banned PPTs from internal meetings. He wanted the person who calls the meeting to put together a very detailed 4 to 6–page memo instead. The first item on the agenda would be for everybody to go through the memo, ahead of discussions.
Nancy Duarte has touched upon the whys of both these announcements in a well–written post
LinkedIn and Amazon want to eliminate presentations from their meetings, and with good reason. But they aren’t saying eliminate slides: they’re actually calling for the PRESENTER to be eliminated. Nancy Duarte.
For discussion's sake–say a Marketing Management Consultant is working on a project for Amazon and she wants to submit a business idea for further discussion. What should she do? Though the ban was on PowerPoint for internal meetings, maybe the Amazon crew is now more used to memo style communication? Should she plan to draft a 4–page detailed memo or get ready to present a PowerPoint deck?
The answer may be to use the powerful medium of PowerPoint, to marry words to visuals, and create a document that is memo–style, but visual and communicates ‘boom’, ‘boom’, ‘boom’, independent of a presenter! To create what Nancy Duarte calls ‘a Visual Document’–Slidedocs.
As a Marketing Manager, you may be conducting market research, developing marketing strategies, identifying new opportunities and have important findings to discuss with or submit to a customer. Or you may be a Management Consultant who needs to present ideas to your client about business strategies or share insights on how to reduce business risks in the changing global political scene. Which would be your preferred medium for communication? Documents styled like ‘slidedocs’, or PPT decks ready for presentation? Which format would be valuable to get your message across and engender fruitful discussion that help you move the project forward?
Do you see PowerPoint remain a useful medium of communication for a long time to come? Or, do you think slide decks can become dispensable? I guess the question is … sniff, Sniff!! Do you smell cheese? Being moved?