Is PowerPoint good or a bad?

Is PowerPoint good or bad? The question invokes strong feelings on both sides. But the correct answer is: It depends.

Is PowerPoint good or bad?

I am proud to be part of a team that gets to spend one week a year with the dynamic, clever students in the IESE Executive MBA Programme. We help them hone their public speaking skills so that they are able to communicate more effectively about the important things on which they are working.

Our team is led by Conor Neill and includes Tony Anagor, Florian Mueck, Tobias Rodrigues and me. While in Barcelona, Conor interviewed us on a wide variety of public speaking issues. I will be posting those videos from time to time on this blog.

The video below is about PowerPoint and it it, I discuss why it can be good or bad. PowerPoint is nothing more than a tool, the same way a hammer or wrench or screwdriver is a tool. And, as is the case for every tool, you need to use the right tool, at the right time, for the right purpose and in the right way.

If I gave you a shovel and asked you to dig a ditch, and you turned the shovel around, held it by the spade and stuck the handle into the ground, you would dig a lousy ditch. But it would not be the shovel’s fault; it would be because of the way in which you used the shovel.

Is PowerPoint good or bad? It depends on how you use it.

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  1. Just wondering why there aren’t any women on the IESE team. I find it strange that the team is an all-male one!

    1. Christina, as I was the final addition (last year) to a team that has been built up over several years, it is not my place to comment at length on the composition. Having said that, I don’t see any problem with it. There are many different teams out there made up only of men; and there are many teams made up only of women; and there are teams that are mixed.

      One of the great teams of which I am a part is lead by Olivia Schofield. We have held events across Europe. Thus far, it has been Olivia as the lead with the rest of the team being men. That’s just how it has worked out. When I was a member of the Geneva Writers’s Group Steering Committee, our team was (as I recall) three or four men and seven or eight women. I wouldn’t read too much into the composition of a team. What’s more important is that the team works well together and produces quality work.

  2. I think PowerPoint is a great tool; it gives its users enough rope to hang themselves. 50 slides full of bullets is a disastrous deck. Seven slides with imagery or charts that eloquently back up the speaker’s story a is a thing of beauty.

      1. Thank you for your prompt response to my comment, John.

        In view of the traditional macho culture in certain countries, such as Spain, I would have thought it proper to ensure that such a team would include women. The institute does have women students, I think.

        Signals shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s a source of great comfort to me that the US voted Obama in as President. The role model thing…

        1. I think choosing role models just so they can be “role models” is not fair.

          John’s comment is commendable. Sometimes it just works out that way. In the future, female members may join the team and it will more closely represent the make up of the general population.

          And honestly, who’s propagating stereotypes here with the “macho cultures, such as Spain” remark? Do you live there? Or is that just the way you think it is there?

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John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

Karsta Goetze

TA Leader, Gore and Associates

I first got in touch with John while preparing to speak at TED Global about my work on ProtonMail. John helped me to sharpen the presentation and get on point faster, making the talk more focused and impactful. My speech was very well received, has since reached almost 1.8 million people and was successful in explaining a complex subject (email encryption) to a general audience.

Andy Yen

CEO, Proton Technologies

John gave the opening keynote on the second day of our unit’s recent offsite in Geneva, addressing an audience of 100+ attendees with a wealth of tips and techniques to deliver powerful, memorable presentations. I applied some of these techniques the very next week in an internal presentation, and I’ve been asked to give that presentation again to senior management, which has NEVER happened before. John is one of the greatest speakers I know and I can recommend his services without reservation.

David Lindelöf

Senior Data Scientist, Expedia Group

After a morning of team building activities using improvisation as the conduit, John came on stage to close the staff event which was organised in Chamonix, France. His energy and presence were immediately felt by all the members of staff. The work put into the preparation of his speech was evident and by sharing some his own stories, he was able to conduct a closing inspirational speech which was relevant, powerful and impactful for all at IRU. The whole team left feeling engaged and motivated to tackle the 2019 objectives ahead. Thank you, John.

Umberto de Pretto

Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

Thuy Khoc-Bilon

World Cancer Day Campaign Manager, Union for International Cancer Control

John gave a brilliant presentation on public speaking during the UN EMERGE programme in Geneva (a two days workshop on leadership development for a group of female staff members working in the UN organizations in Geneva). His talk was inspirational and practical, thanks to the many techniques and tips he shared with the audience. His teaching can dramatically change our public speaking performance and enable us as presenters to have a real and powerful impact. Thank you, John, for your great contribution!

Sara Canna

HR Specialist, World Health Organization

John is a genuine communication innovator. His seminars on gamification of public speaking learning and his interactive Rhetoric game at our conference set the tone for change and improvement in our organisation. The quality of his input, the impact he made with his audience and his effortlessly engaging style made it easy to get on board with his core messages and won over some delegates who were extremely skeptical as to the efficacy of games for learning. I simply cannot recommend him highly enough.

Thomas Scott

National Education Director, Association of Speakers Clubs UK

John joined our Global Sales Meeting in Segovia, Spain and we all participated in his "Improv(e) your Work!" session. I say “all” because it really was all interactive, participatory, learning and enjoyable. The session surprised everybody and was a fresh-air activity that brought a lot of self-reflection and insights to improve trust and confidence in each other inside our team. It´s all about communication and a good manner of speaking!"

Jon Lopez

General Manager Europe, Hayward Industries

Thank you very much for the excellent presentation skills session. The feedback I received was very positive. Everyone enjoyed the good mix of listening to your speech, co-developing a concrete take-away and the personal learning experience. We all feel more devoted to the task ahead, more able to succeed and an elevated team spirit. Delivering this in a short time, both in session and in preparation, is outstanding!

Henning Dehler

CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

Thanks to John’s excellent workshop, I have learned many important tips and techniques to become an effective public speaker. John is a fantastic speaker and teacher, with extensive knowledge of the field. His workshop was a great experience and has proven extremely useful for me in my professional and personal life.

Eric Thuillard

Senior Sales Manager, Sunrise Communications

John’s presentation skills training was a terrific investment of my time. I increased my skills in this important area and feel more comfortable when speaking to an audience. John provided the right mix between theory and practice.

Diego Brait

Director of the Jura Region, BKW Energie AG

Be BOLD. Those two words got stuck in my head and in the heads of all those ADP leaders and associates that had the privilege to see John on stage. He was our keynote speaker at our annual convention in Barcelona, and his message still remains! John puts his heart in every word. Few speakers are so credible, humble and yet super strong with large audiences!

Guadalupe Garcia

Senior Director and Talent Partner, ADP International