In our modern, highly technologically advanced society, does Microsoft PowerPoint still stand a chance as an effective method for professional presentation?
In my opinion, yes it does!
More specifically, I think the issue here is whether PowerPoint is naturally incapable of adapting to the times or is the designer of the presentation lacking the necessary skills to create an effective presentation utilizing appropriate design choices and styles.
In my opinion, the issue with PowerPoint falls on the designer and his/her ability to create an effective professional presentation. Many times throughout my high school and college career, I have been a victim of slow, confusing PowerPoint presentations, whose slides are overrun with either images, texts, or an obnoxious mix of the two. Unfortunately, many people do not take the time to focus on the effects their PowerPoint presentation will have on the audience. Often, the designer will focus on aspects that please only him/her during the construction period, such as applying unnecessary background colors or typing paragraph notes that will only be read verbatim come presentation day.
The purpose of your PowerPoint presentation is to aid in whatever point you plan to make to your audience. The text and language used in your slides should be short, preferably in some bullet list form and consisting of key words. Your audience is there to listen and learn something new, not read the information on the slide or listen to what is already in plain sight. Images should also be used as an aid to enhance what the presenter is discussing. The designer should avoid unnecessary decoration or over-stretched images as a background for your slide. Graphs and charts are encouraged to appease those in the audience who prefer visual learning. However, these graphs should be relevant and laid out in a nice, organized fashion. The colors used to highlight these charts and graphs should be minimal in use. According to Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, the presentation designer should “stick with two or three — not six or seven — and use them consistently.”
Half of the problem stems from people being unaware of the wide range of functions PowerPoint has to offer. The other half is that PowerPoint does need to update a little bit to offer more current methods of presenting. However, blogger Christopher Maloney offers an insight into the new and improved PowerPoint 2013 in his post titled, “PowerPoint 2013: Presentation is Everything”. He discusses the new improvements to the most recent version of the program, primarily the “eight newly designed themes” so that “variants have complete control over all elements of the presentation’s design — colors, fonts, effects, layouts, text properties, paragraph properties, design elements, and photos and textures.”
With such improvements, it is only possible for PowerPoint to become more prevalent in professional presentations, both in school and the workforce.
Microsoft. (2012). The New PowerPoint. http://blogs.office.com/2012/08/09/the-new-powerpoint/
Purewal, Jacobsson Sarah. (September 20, 2010). The World’s Worst PowerPoint Presentations. http://www.cio.com/article/2415027/enterprise-software/the-world-s-worst-powerpoint-presentations.html