Why corporate communicators should abandon PowerPoint – and how to do it

It’s time to ditch the one-way, top-down discussion tools of yore. Attempt these ideas to craft more interactive conferences, events and speeches.

Editor’’ s note: We are re-running the leading stories of 2021 as part of our year-end countdown.

Digital interaction tools have actually ended up being the superheroes these days’’ s remote office.

Without Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other digital systems, cooperation amongst remote employees, customers, companies and companies today would be almost difficult. If you’’ re a business communicator who ’ s dealing with time-sensitive performance concerns (and who isn’’ t?), there ’ s one digital tool you need to ditch: PowerPoint.


To be reasonable, PowerPoint and its cousin Keynote enable us to work up aesthetically sensational decks so we can talk at big audiences. If your objective is to carry out conferences in a culture of cooperation and make choices throughout those conferences, stimulate group imagination or engage your audience, then you require to believe beyond PowerPoint –– particularly throughout our remote-working, semi-quarantined method of life.

PowerPoint’’ s weak point

One-way interaction is fading quick for the very same factors that mass interaction and marketing are no longer viewed as the very best methods to reach target market. One-way interaction doesn’’ t follow more youthful generations ’ expectations to take part in discussion that’’ s rooted in truth, credibility and openness –– that’’ s where PowerPoint fails us.

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PowerPoint’’ s constraints are not simply the labor it requires to craft the ideal story, however likewise in its failure to be inclusive and welcome discussion. It’’ s best utilized as a tool “to “ present ” instead of a way to prompt discussion about essential problems, motivate others to participate or develop positioning within big groups of individuals. The program typically motivates those on the getting end to perform internal discussion (inside their own heads) as they equate the material they’’ re experiencing, or psychologically craft actions –– frequently while unconsciously summing up crucial concepts. Other times, the audience merely selectively listens to the material while they browse their e-mail, social networks, the news and even fantasize out the window.

A variety of research studies reveal that PowerPoint is not just a bad interactions tool, it can in fact prevent specific service results. Forbes and other organization publications have actually reported on a Harvard research study, for instance, which found that speakers utilizing ““ zoomable interface” ” (believe Prezi), are considered as more ““ expert and experienced than PowerPoint users.” ” In reality, PowerPoint was ranked by the online research study individuals as ““ no much better than spoken discussions without any visual help.””


The bottom line, to price estimate Geoffrey James , who composed in 2015 in Inc., is that, ““ … all the time and effort you invest developing an elegant PowerPoint is at finest squandered and at worst detrimental.

What are the options?

By getting rid of PowerPoint from your conferences, you’’ ll empower your groups to overcome issues together utilizing collective discussion and useful argument. How do we break complimentary from our cumulative PowerPoint dependency?

Fortunately, lots of ““ old-school ” work session methods, which we utilized when we might all securely collect around a conference table, are still practical in our virtual world. At our brand name style firm CBX, we extract individuals’’ s best believing with the very same work session methods today that we did pre-pandemic, consisting of:

Mission clearness and meaning. Investing a half day to genuinely comprehend the objectives, goals and supreme deliverables can conserve time, energy and re-work in the future. Aligning and working as a cross-functional group from the start can make a huge distinction to guarantee everybody’’ s viewpoint is heard and the entire group is marching forward in unison.

To accomplish objective clearness and meaning throughout virtual conferences, it’’ s more vital than ever to get ready for conferences, run a tight program, select a private to run the conference, and produce clear goals and wanted results. The group must be clear in advance what is anticipated of them throughout the conference –– What choices will we make? Are we collected for positioning to produce a go-forward strategy? Do we have clear next actions and obligations?

Fist of 5. Utilizing positioning strategies like fist of 5 prior at the close of any conference enables all guests to have a voice, share an issue or offer feedback in real-time, leading to open, direct discussions and avoiding the feared ““ conference after the conference. ”


How it works: Each individual elect their choice, revealing 5 fingers if they’’ re 100 % on board with a choice or concept; 4 fingers if they believe pros exceed cons; 3 fingers imply they’’ ve some appointments, however think it’’ s the very best decision/idea on the table; 2 fingers indicate, ““ I ’ m not purchasing it; ” and one finger means, “ I ’ m going to leave the door –– you’’ re all insane. ” Anyone ballot with a couple of fingers has 2 minutes to mention their POV and after that the group is offered 2 minutes to alter their minds. The procedure continues till everybody’’ s in contract.

How to adjust fist of 5 for virtual conferences: With white boards and flipcharts a thing of in-person conferences, items like Miro and Mural replace well as virtual area where groups work together throughout time zones and places. These tools permit virtual ballot, 24/7 input and feedback chances, real-time partnership to work cross-office/cross-country in a minute’’ s notification.


At CBX, we ’ re presently utilizing Miro for all style work-in-progress partnerships throughout departments, enabling individuals to offer feedback prior to, throughout and after conferences. We likewise utilize joint client-agency work sessions and virtual white boards to share and gather research study, insights, competitive and classification findings to produce and team up on tactical instructions, style technique or positioning.

Time-boxing. CBX utilizes time-box strategies throughout conferences and work sessions to accomplish outcomes rapidly. When people are offered a concentrated job and restricted time, they concern a suggestion and reasoning faster and typically, and with higher clearness.

How it works: Once group conversations conclude, everybody has, for instance, 30 minutes to leave the conference and ““ achieve their location of proficiency’’ s job at hand. ” The group reassembles after a half-hour to share their thinking, deal suggestions and decide.

How to adjust time-boxing for virtual conferences: Because groups require to take believing time from their schedules to make time-boxing work, ensure that each employee’ ’ calendar isn ’ t filled with status conferences, work-in-progress conferences or other stakeholder educational conferences. These kinds of conferences, while essential, are much better attained in a 15-minute ““ stand-up ” format where updates are shared and co-dependencies for development are recognized.

Crucial success aspects

As simple as it is to slam PowerPoint for its restrictions, all of us understand it’’ s not that simple to desert a tradition with which we’’ re all comfy. Any effort to change PowerPoint with other tools and strategies requires approval from the top down, in addition to open minds and desire to work collaboratively amongst all individuals

Lastly, for PowerPoint options to work, there needs to be a recognition and approval that positioning methods flatten a company’’ s hierarchy since everybody has a voice. You require to take child actions if a group or company has a hard time with this principle. From our experience, as soon as those sitting on the fence see the power of an alternative technique, they will concur that it’’ s more interesting, that their voice is being heard and that they are part of the procedure, not simply passively getting info –– resulting in more engaged and efficient group members.

Stacy Hintermeister is VP of marketing and development at brand name style company CBX, based in New York City and Minneapolis. Find out more at https://cbx.com.

Learn how to link and craft effective discussions with executive comms leaders at our upcoming Speechwriters and Public Affairs Virtual Conference on March 4.

The post Why business communicators must desert PowerPoint –– and how to do it appeared initially on Ragan Communications .


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