Is it finally time to ditch PowerPoint?

In this age people want to see things not just be told about them

Think of the last time you bought something, a TV, a Car, in fact pretty much anything, did the sales person go through a powerpoint presentation? Of course not, they show you what you’re going to buy, explain to you how it’ll benefit you, let you sit inside the car, watch the TV, get comfortable with it, want it. They want you to experience the feeling of owning this new thing.

I’ve delivered a few keynotes over the last weeks, one of them was to the Scottish Public Sector, now I’ll admit I had a couple of slides to set the scene but, the idea of the talk was to show how technology could benefit the people in Scotland so I decided that a good way to do this would be to have Alexa join me on stage. Part way into my talk I started asking Alexa questions about Scotland…

What are the top things to do in Edinburgh?
Where’s the Scottish whiskey experience?
What’s the traffic currently like?
What’s the best way to get to the Airport?

Of course I’d pre programmed the responses but it had a real impact on the audience, people didn’t realise how easy it was to use Alexa in this way and they immediately started to consider how they could use this type of technology.

At our recent Partner Academy I also decided that I’d show people our new cloud portal rather than showing them screenshots on slides, again you could see the impact, people started to really think about how they could use this, what it feels like to provision volumes in AWS and Azure, how easy it is to enable Disaster Recovery to the Cloud.

Maybe the title of my blog is a little misleading as I do still think that PowerPoint is a very useful tool but I do believe that we’ve become too dependent on it. Every time we get ready for a talk or a meeting it’s just too easy for us to grab some slides whip out the laptop and off we go into our spiel. Unless you have really great slides and are an incredibly visual speaker then I think the audience will often find it hard to connect to your content, to actually feel what it’s like to use the tools or technologies that you’re explaining in your slides.

The next time you’re preparing for a talk or a meeting why not try something different? Show them the software or the portal you would previously have described, use Alexa to show them how they could get real and valuable insights from their data, if you feel more ambitious then why not build an App, none of this is as difficult as maybe you think it is. You’ll learn new skills, you’ll create a better and more powerful experience and you may have some real fun at the same time.

Don’t just tell people, show people!

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