Thursday, May 12, 2005

points about powerpoint

It may be fine to think of a presentation like a screenplay but the limitations of ppt will hit you like a bad climax sequence especially if you want hardhitting animation. I mean after 15 years, the present version of ppt still leaves a lot to be desired in spiffiness.

Some crucial management concepts still are best shown in powerpoint. For showing value chains, competitive analysis, elucidation of complex concepts, product portfolio analysis and implentation plans, nothing beats Powerpoint. Sometimes a good ppt really ensures that a lot of work is synthesized well for the benefit of senior management time and is appreciated. Mckinsey and other consulting firms have converted this tool of presentation to a one for management manipulation. And masters of this tool use it to create a semblance of lot of work having been done when actually nothing much has been accomplished. The status update presentation is a classic example. Thats why lot of companies are refusing to use it as it provides a convenient smokescreen to seduce senior management. Slideware as vapourware.
The key thing is if the ppt is good, it also has to be presented well with gusto and passion. Some sales people really do it well. Not sure of management consultants, because sometimes by the end of the five hundredth iteration, most good points are removed from the presentations or lost in the minions minds . Then one really is left with a strange combination, a presenter who half knows the ppt and a ppt which half reflects its original intent. I have seen some of my good ppts going down this route and believe me the sight is quite frustrating.
Add to all this the sheer oversupply of MBAs, each trying to outdo one another in ppt skills. The origin of these bad habits is sometimes the b-schools where case study presentations turn into wars of ppt animation rather than ideas.
I guess like any other tool, user discretion is advised and tools cant replace human qualities of eloquence, presence of mind,people management and charisma. Otherwise monkeys with ppts would have replaced consultants long time back.


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