"Something awful is in the air. It is 19 years old and American. It ruins meetings, presentations and lectures alike. Its name is PowerPoint."
There are few words that have a greater capacity to chill than “I’ll just take you through this on PowerPoint” and there are few surer guarantees of daytime slumber than the gentle shuffling of slides as what was once a compelling argument becomes a computer-aided anaesthetic. PowerPoint presentations are to persuasion what male posing pouches are to seduction — the death of the art.
If you do want to win an audience to your point of view, whatever it is you’re selling, then there is no effective alternative to the traditional art of speechmaking. Rhetoric, as it used to be known, has acquired a dodgy reputation over the years. Platform speeches have become equated, thanks to the efforts of hack politicians like me, with pompous and stilted cliché-mongering. You know the sort of stuff — references to things being “beyond peradventure” and initiatives being “rolled out through multi-agency working”. But it is still the case that a single speech can move, excite, motivate and change minds in a way that no other form of communication can accomplish.
I hate Powerpoint, but my employer absolutely adores it; insists on it. I'm still occasionally criticized for a presentation I made three years ago without the requisite accompanying Powerpoint slides -- even though I presented my case clearly and sparked a very lively discussion. Anyway, read the rest at the Adam Smith Institute Blog.