In this conversation, Duncan talks about his new Communicate, Collaborate, Educate using PowerPoint ebook.
Geetesh: Tell us about your new book, Communicate, Collaborate, Educate Using PowerPoint -– and what prompted you to author this title?
Duncan: When used as a broadcast tool, the information on a set of PowerPoint slides is delivered from A to Z as a one way communication until the “Any Questions” slide is reached. So many of us only experience PowerPoint in this way, resulting in the software receiving a dreadful reputation because the poor standard of presenting has become wrongly recognized as a consequence of using PowerPoint.
For any presentation to be effective, time must be invested to create the foundations of your communication that will result in objectives being met. Using PowerPoint effectively requires the same investment in time to author and deliver a compelling presentation; which should be the objective every time.
Instead of just launching PowerPoint, and creating a set of text-heavy slides, I wanted to show how approaching the construction of a presentation with a supporting PowerPoint slide show can be an engaging and even collaborative experience for the audience. Whether for business or education, just a small investment in time can produce subtle changes that will make all the difference. Changes that engage and motivate audiences as your passion and knowledge for a subject are clearly communicated. Changes that break-up the monotony of slide-after-slide read aloud word-for-word by the so-called presenter.
Microsoft incorporate annotation tools that allow information to be captured in real-time, third-party developers create enhancements for PowerPoint that allow you to see multiple slides simultaneously, embed anonymous participant feedback systems, or update slides with live Excel information, etc. Together with appropriate slide designs and images, such enhancements increase audience engagement, which in turn improves the effectiveness of the presentation. Being able to quickly move to any slide, annotate real-time feedback onto a slide, or get live feedback from your audience, are simple ways to improve the effectiveness of your presentation, and raise your profile as a credible and inspiring presenter. I hope my book will open eyes and minds to how much more effective everyone can be when presenting with PowerPoint from just a small investment in time and realistic change in approach.
Geetesh: You mention in your book about how you came full circle back to PowerPoint after exploring other presentation programs –- what attracted you again to PowerPoint?
Duncan: PowerPoint has suffered from being so readily accessible, that even people who should not be let anywhere near it think that they have the right to fill some slides and call it a presentation.
Ironically, the same measures of accessibility and familiarity mean that it’s a resource that everyone could use, and with a bit more care, thought and time, can use well.
It is the non-standard nature of other presentation solutions that has held back their adoption, and you only have to look at the presentation media used by 3rd party companies to create solutions for major corporations and government departments to know how important PowerPoint remains.
Over the last few years I’ve seen some great 3rd party developments for PowerPoint which help deliver audience-engaging solutions into a mainstream facility. It doesn’t mean that PowerPoint is right for every occasion, but it certainly offers brilliant presentational support to the vast majority of presenters and educators, and in a format that everyone can work with.