Spiffing up PowerPoint

PowerPoint is something of a staple here at Infopeople. We use it in most of our on-ground workshops, and in our webcasts, and even sometimes in our online courses. It’s been around a long time, actually. Version 1.0 dates back to 1987 (and was created for the Mac!). Nowadays it has a super slick wizard and a handy library of templates that makes it extremely easy for anybody to build a presentation in no time flat. but let’s face it: PowerPoint is called PowerPoint for a reason – it reduces everything to talking points. What this does to language has been wonderfully well satiruzed in the Gettysburg Address PowerPoint Presentation.
The Los Angeles Times ran an article today about a huge shift away from the talking point model of PowerPoint. The new model uses PowerPoint to tell a story. Cliff Atkinson, who published a book last year called Beyond Bullet Points, is the person behind this shift. Basically his premise is, if you can’t beat them, join them. Atkinson’s theories have been put to the test in several high profile legal cases. In the end though, it all comes down to a pretty simple prescription for success: if you can tell a story well, you’re on your way to success, with or without PowerPoint.