According to a recent article in Philanthropy Daily, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has banished PowerPoint presentations from meetings of his staff.
Instead he requires speakers to prepare six-page summaries of what they want to say. His meetings begin with quiet periods, during which other meeting attendees read the summaries. In a 2012 interview with Charlie Rose http://www.charlierose.com/watch/60148245, Bezos explained his position by saying, “When you have to write your ideas out in complete sentences and complete paragraphs, it forces a deeper clarity of thinking.”
The author of the Philanthrophy Daily article, Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill, suggests that PowerPoint causes many presenters to spend more time thinking about the placement of bullets and the choice of fonts than about forming strong explanations of the concepts and perspectives they want to communicate.
She points out that “More than a decade ago, it was estimated that thirty million PowerPoint presentations were given each day—the number must be much higher today. Just think of how many millions of hours are spent every day sitting through truly terrible PowerPoint presentations.”
Comments on her article reveal a mixed reaction. While many responders agreed with her, complaining about the terrible presentations they have seen, one said, “Bezos makes the epic logical fail of thinking that because something is abused, it is inherently evil.”
What do you think? Would banning PowerPoint and other graphics-based presentations from your meetings solve more problems than it causes? I invite your opinions on this or any other topic, either directly through my email or in the comments section below.