Avoiding Death by Powerpoint

Yet another bit of genius from the Marketoonist Tom Fishburne. This time he's illustrating that well know problem – "Death by Powerpoint".

Death by Powerpoint can be a real killer in marketing meetings and workshops. From hard-won experience, here are a few things that can help avoid this happening to try out in 2012.

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1. No surprises

When running projects, we insist on seeing all the presentations before any workshop. Even when the brief is clear (e.g. 2 pages maximum), many people still send in overly long and wordy presentations. At least this way you have a chance to get people to shorten their presentation, rather than discovering it in the workshop.

2. Show me the money

I like getting people to "pitch" ideas in workshops, as if presenting to a venture capitalist, like a contestant in the TV programme "The Dragons' Den" ("Shark Tank" in the US). We give them a 1-page pro-forma, called an Idea Card, to prepare. And they have 5" to sell the ideas to the group. This means you can get through 20-25 ideas in a 1-day workshop, much more than possible with the normal 20-page Powerpoint decks.

After all, if you can't sell the idea in 5", how have you got a chance of selling it to a consumer in a 30" advert or explain it on a piece of packaging?

3. Cut the words

At a recent conference I experimented by cutting out ALL the words in my presentation and only using images. I think we often use slides as a crutch to remind us what to say; I know I've been guilty of this. The image-only presentation worked really well. It forced me to ensure that any slides were really helping bring to life and illustrate the key points.

4. Go naked

If you're even braver, why not ditch the Powerpoint altogether. After all, some of the most inspiring talks, like this one from Sir Ken Robinson at TED, are done when people talk from the heart without charts at all.

In conclusion, less is defintely more when it comes to Powerpoint. And why not be really brave next time you have to do a talk and go naked altogether?!