Kindly allow me a short rant. Because this article from Business Insider is driving me a little nuts:

PowerPoint presentations are the standard for presentations in the workplace.

Except that they kind of suck …. It’s not really Microsoft’s fault. PowerPoint gives you all kinds of templates and graphics tools, but all anyone ever uses is boring bullet points on a white background.

PowerPoint gives you all kinds of templates and graphics tools, but all anyone ever uses is boring bullet points on a white background.

Today, Microsoft is introducing a pair of new PowerPoint features, Designer and Morph, that make it a lot harder to create a boring presentation ….[Designer] suggests slide layouts and features based on the content…. [Morph] makes it much easier to do simple animations in your presentation.

Dammit, people: this isn’t what’s wrong with presentations.

The very last thing you should worry about with your PowerPoint (or Keynote, or Presi, or Google Slides) presentation is how exciting your slides are. Or how pretty. Or whether they move.

Nobody’s presentation sucks because they chose a dull template.

Nobody.

On Earth.

In recorded human history.

What sucks about PowerPoint isn’t the default template. What sucks about PowerPoint is that so many people use it so very, very, very badly. They…

  • use PowerPoint for speeches that don’t need it at all.
  • overload their slides with words that they then read aloud, basically delivering a document with narration rather than a speech
  • focus relentlessly on their slides without thinking about their actual message and story
  • focus on the individual slides without thinking about structure

Only once you’ve addressed those questions should you even begin to think about templates.

Because if you have a compelling, relevant speech with great content and a rousing call to action, very few people will gripe that you were using black Verdana on a white background.

And if people are noticing your slides are boring, you have much bigger problems. The kind of problems no lovely layout or zippy animation can solve.