It can inflict boredom and alienate the masses. Or it can help to inspire and win hearts. World leader? Reality television? No, it’s PowerPoint, and its use in internal communications was the focus of this week’s #icchat on Twitter.
I’ll be honest: When I hear the term PowerPoint, the boredom warning alarm rings loudly. I nearly chose to be outdoors on a perfect fall day here in Minnesota, rather than attend a chat about this widely used but frequently reviled tool. But the growing reputation of Sean’s (@CommAMMO) #icchat discussions drew me in. That, along with curiosity and a thirst for PowerPoint inspiration from special guest The Presentationist – a.k.a., Tony Ramos – a man who’s devoted his career to communicating clearly with PowerPoint since 1993.
Our discussion confirmed there is a place for PowerPoint – if it’s used wisely. Sean got things started with a candid question: “Why does PowerPoint suck, especially for internal communications?”
Solutions brought us to communications fundamentals.
PowerPoint alone won’t do the job. Speakers are responsible for engaging the audience.
The energy – or lack thereof – put into internal communications was called into play with Diane (@ZebraCracker) asking, “What approach best overcomes the notion that ‘this is good enough – it’s just internal.’?”
@Commammo lot of time the need is a leave-behind, not a preso – even Word is better for that…
Sean steered us into the creative aspects of PowerPoint, asking if text is dead for presentations and whether animation and motion are useful.
@tonyramos Q3 Just cuz u can doesnt mean you should. Save animation/motion/builds for when it is critical to understanding the message. Great example of a story told thru sparse text, images, video, soundtrack http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SbXgQqbOoU #icchat
@ZebraCracker Depends on audience. There is a time and place for big, stark, powerful text sans animation, etc. Time and place = when on big stage, with big audience, when presenter shd be star of show.
Developing stories to engage audiences is essential.
And with that, the topic for the next #icchat was born: structuring stories for internal communications. Join us November 2 from 2 – 3 eastern time (North America).
[Note: You can read this week’s transcript here.]
Trent Meidinger’s expertise is in internal and executive communications – strategy, counsel, coaching and messaging. He has worked at American Express, Target Corporation and United Healthcare in communications and operations-management roles. He writes about business and personal communications at http://trentmeidinger.com and is a member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Follow him on Twitter as @wheati.