Powerpoint could be a dying program

Nicholas Sparling

In an article, “Death by PowerPoint,” in the San Antonio Business Journal last November, communication specialist Mary E. Rauch claims that in the last three to five years PowerPoint has begun to die out. Some companies have gone as far as to ban PowerPoint presentations.
Like every tool, the presenters determine the value of PowerPoint. Rauch lists four reasons as to why so many suffer through PowerPoint presentations. The speaker will only use PowerPoint as a safety blanket, or it’s the only way they know how to make a presentation. PowerPoint is also a company standard in some cases or only used because it’s easy.
Not all Bakersfield College professors agree.
According to Michele Bresso from BC’s communication department, “PowerPoint is easily accessible and easy to use, which endows it with great potential for communicating a message to an audience of any size.” Bresso believes that there is an effective value to PowerPoint if used in “an interesting and dynamic and visual way.”
In her article, Rauch gives rules to help make an effective PowerPoint. Rule number one is that PowerPoint is intended for listeners and not for readers. The second rule is never to make yourself part of your audience, and the third rule is to remember that your audience doesn’t need or want all the information that you have. So, be moderate and pertinent in your presentation of information.
The biggest misuse of PowerPoint starts with bullet points, according to communication professor Helen Acosta. “The minute you put a bullet point on a slide, you have added multiple ideas to the slide,” he said.
For a good PowerPoint presentation, Acosta suggested, “If you want your presentation to be powerful, you need to share no more than one idea at a time. When that idea is reinforced by a single emotion provoking images, then you can create a web of meaning that makes it easy for your audience to remember the idea later.”
Acosta has created a PowerPoint tutorial on how to use PowerPoint as an effective tool. It is available on her website.
Rauch writes in her article, “Think of your PowerPoint ‘show’ as theater. Craft your set, stage the lighting, use dramatic focus, create a narrative flow and end big.”