Wired 11.09: PowerPoint Is Evil I’m of two mind…

Wired 11.09: PowerPoint Is Evil

I’m of two minds regarding PowerPoint.

On the one hand:

  • I love outlines

    • Organize thoughts

    • Easy for others to understand (I think)

  • PowerPoint is a easy to use graphics editor

    • I’m not aware of an easier app for creating flow charts

    • Has most of the features of paint

  • It interfaces nicely with the other office apps

    • esp. Excel

On the other hand, PowerPoint isn’t conducive to telling stories. Today at work, I was giving a training where I wanted to impart the purpose and value of one of our products. My purpose was to enable people at work to intelligently discuss the value proposition of our product and given the nature of our services, to add more value in the services they provide.

Being the good corporate minion I am, I created a PowerPoint presentation that nicely outlined all of the points I wanted to make. As I droned through the presentation, the audience began to nod off as I noticed a typo in the slide I was discussing. Basically, on the slide I had written something like “call center” performance when I meant to say “support center” performance. The difference is that support centers are multi-media (i.e. they support via the web, email or phones), but call centers are phone-based support only.

The typo, and the distinction I pointed out, reminded one of our consultants of an interaction she had with a customer. The customer was trapped in the frame of mind of call centers. Because the issues that are of concern in call centers (hold times, call queuing, etc) are only a subset of the issues of a full support center, the customer was missing the bigger picture. Our consultant told us that she was able to reorient the customer to see the larger picture and doing so, demonstrate the value of our ongoing relationship with the customer.

Anyway, the discussion in the room really took off after the consultant shared this story. PowerPoint, by itself, was unable to convey a sense of context that story telling gives. Also, the folks that I was training today are much more likely to remember the story than they are to remember an esoteric bullet point.

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