An article in the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press this week discusses the increasing disdain for PowerPoint, and it’s worth noting. (See  http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200910050415/NEWS02/91004005)

The article refers to a British study that found that an instructor’s single biggest contribution to student boredom was PowerPoint slides. And it reminded me of an anecdote about Lou Gerstner, the former CEO at IBM, who was sitting in a meeting while an SVP fumbled his way through a PowerPoint presentation. Gerstner, not always known for subtlety, walked up and turned the machine off and told his SVP, “Just talk to us. Have a conversation.” Great advice.

S0 many potential customers dread the next RFP presentation because they will need to sit through an excruciating slide show. The slides should not be the center of attention; it should be your conversation with the audience. Most people will be delighted if you don’t use it.

 They key is to talk directly to the audience. Use few slides, do not put much information on them and instead use them only as talking points, and have a handout that offers tips and some in-depth text, something that will be useful to the audience two days later. Most slides are worthless soon after the presentation, unless people took copious notes.