Is it time for PowerPoint to step down and retire for good?

By Nathan Jackson | January 23, 2023

We originally asked if it was time for PowerPoint to step down and retire for good in a blog article in 2015. A lot has happened since then, so I thought I’d revisit that article to see if what we said has played out. 

Is it time for PowerPoint to retire?

Launched in 1987 for Mac computers, Microsoft bought the PowerPoint software a few months later as their first significant acquisition. 

Statistics suggest that since the late 1990s, PowerPoint has owned an estimated 95% market share of global presentation software for industry and academic sources. Though incredibly, at least to me, numerous well-regarded commentators have criticized its use, citing an inability to successfully communicate the information contained in presentations prepared in PowerPoint. 

To me, that’s like blaming Word or Google Docs for a poorly structured and grammatically incorrect document. It’s not the tool — it’s how you use it.

If we are ever going to become effective presenters, we must overcome the common belief that PowerPoint is at fault and recognize how to use it well.

Presentations: the poor relation

While not considered an investment, PowerPoint presentations are often a primary conduit used by sales and marketing to communicate with prospects, customers, and investors. Like it or not, that makes them a critical piece of your revenue puzzle.

According to George Bernard Shaw, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” 

When it comes to presentations, most of us are like Shaw’s reasonable man, readily resigning ourselves to the poor presentations that have become standard in today’s world. But fortunately, this mindset is rapidly changing. 

Why you shouldn’t retire PowerPoint just yet

Today, the world’s most successful companies have designed products and services to optimize people’s lives – in other words, they are adapting the world to themselves. That can also be true for presenting. Instead of an off-putting, lecture-first approach, we can construct presentations designed around two very natural human methods of communication — conversations and stories (or rather, story selling). 

The typical last-minute approach of simply shoving some slides together often results in a poorly realized presentation full of overly complex imagery, pointless motion, and jumbled copy. The result is a poor customer experience, lost opportunities and the demise of sales and company morale.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can use PowerPoint to convey your point in a beautiful, pointed, and animated way. 

I’m a passionate supporter of this “ancient” software because I know the power of the possible — something many people have yet to experience. And for this reason, I say, no, it’s certainly not time for PowerPoint to step down and retire for good  — long live PowerPoint!

Do you want to leverage PowerPoint to help your teams better engage today’s distracted buyers, customers, and investors? See what’s possible with our guide How to create an effective sales presentation.

Nathan Jackson is Executive Vice President of Presentify. Nathan was the founder and Managing Director of UK-based visual communication specialists Presentify Ltd and joined the team through Mediafly’s 2020 acquisition of the business. He’s worked with companies around the world to apply story or narrative context to clearly articulate content in a visually supportive manner.

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