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Archive for the “PowerPoint” Category

I loathe PowerPoint presentations. There’s just about nothing in business I more dread.

In this I seem to be in a minority. PowerPoint is acknowledged to be the most popular tool for creating slide show presentations and an essential sales tool for many of my entrepreneurial colleagues. From what I read in Microsoft documents on the Internet there are well over 300 million PowerPoint users in the world, including over 30 million per day and over a million going on right now. My guess is the majority of these are boring their listeners to death.

I don’t use PowerPoint (or any of its alternative cousins). Here’s why: I want people to listen to me, the wonderful me. Now, admittedly, my outsourced sales company, Corporate Rain International, lends itself to a more simple presentation than, say, a complex, rococo technology sale. My company is primarily about a bespoke service and quality of strategic sales execution into the C-suite. But, even when selling computer hardware, software or other technological wonderment, buyers hire who they know and like. Anything that clouds or vitiates the urgency of that personal selling relationship is counterproductive.

The simple truth is the more efficaciously naked you can be emotionally, the more compelling you become as a salesman. PowerPoint puts a layer between the salesman and the client that I prefer not to have. This makes selling a more personal and courageous, as well as compelling, act.

Of course, I don’t mean to be absurdly reductionist in my intuitive salesman’s dislike of PowerPoint. Obviously there are necessary moments for the graphic and visual. But, even when necessary, it should be kept simple, as should almost everything in sales.

In an article in Wired from 2003 (subtitled “Power corrupts. PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.“), Edward Tufte comments about PowerPoint:

“Imagine a widely used and expensive prescription drug that promised to make us beautiful but didn’t. Instead the drug had frequent, serious side effects: It induced stupidity, turned everyone into bores, wasted time and degraded the quality and credibility of communication.”

That rather neatly sums up my sales instincts on the use of PowerPoint.

Last week (July 27 blog) I noted that there is growing scientific evidence that people who excessively multitask and watch busy multimedia presentations retain much less than those who take in information in a more sedate and focused manner. In my opinion, PowerPoint is another exemplar of this phenomenon.

Painter Hans Hofman in Search for the Real (1967) states, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Thanks, Hans.

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