Since its release way back in 1987 (which is the Stone Age as far as computing technology goes!) Microsoft PowerPoint has been a staple of business meetings, training sessions, and conferences – but does it really matter if you use PowerPoint when you visit our conference centre in London?
Using one of our cheap meeting rooms means of course that you’ll have more left in your budget to get the latest version of PowerPoint, but before you go and spend any money you’ll want to consider if new software is necessary.
Of course we’ve all sat through PowerPoint presentations which could send even the most lively meetings to sleep, but remember it’s the operator not the software which is at fault here. So let’s not complain about the tools when it’s how they are used that counts.
Here’s a few things which PowerPoint is good for, along with some suggestions for alternative ways of getting the information across to your audience without using presentation software:
Agenda and title of meeting – often left on the screen at the start of the meeting while people are arriving.
Alternative – your meeting room hire includes usually a flipchart and all rooms have a whiteboard, so just arrive before hand a and put it with good old fashioned handwriting.
Graphs and pie charts – imported to PowerPoint from Excel or similar spreadsheet programmes.
Alternative – remember your graphs and pie charts are usually used to show general trends rather than specific figures, so and ad-hock hand drawn flipchart will have the same effect. Also consider just putting up the final figures rather than a diagram.
Bullet points – one of the most used features is the simple task of making a list of bullet points. These are used to emphasise the headings of the main parts of the presentation.
Alternative - you’ll already have an agenda at the start, so rather than emphasise things as you go along, why not organise a summary at the end of the meeting. Just like the TV news when they do a quick round up of today’s reports which you have just watched.
On the other hand you could always of for one of the many PowerPoint alternatives available, some of which are free, check out Impress from OpenOffice.org which is almost the same as the previous version of PowerPoint. And there’s the old standby of Google Presentation which has improved a lot since launch – plus it is based in the cloud so you don’t need to carry your laptop about – any computer or tablet with an internet connection will do (....and there’s free wireless internet in all our rooms)
So is PowerPoint needed ? No ! There’s loads of other options for getting the job done.