When the CERN researchers communicated about the discovery of the Higgs boson, the presentation raised a lot of reactions on Twitter. Not only because the announcement of the God particle concerned one of the most important findings in modern physics, but also because the presentation was created with the Comic Sans font. And –much to my surprise– many of the tweets blamed Microsoft PowerPoint for this atrocity against good taste.
Another example of PowerPoint-bashing is a recently published survey (you may have seen the infographic floating around on internet) which states that respondents would rather give up sex (24%) or go to the dentist (20%) than sit through a PPT presentation.
As a frequent public presenter and spectator, I can only agree with the observation that there is a serious problem with many PowerPoint presentations. It would be short-sighted however to blame this solely on Microsoft. As a matter of fact, there are excellent speakers who manage to create the most dreadful slides (have you ever seen Tom Peters’ presentations ?), as well as superb slide decks that get ruined by the people who present them (or just read them aloud). Some of the best public speakers even prefer to present naked (for those with a dirty mind: read Garr Reynolds’ 2005 blog post about making your next presentation naked).
As such, PowerPoint is not substantially worse (or better) than Keynote or SlideRocket or even Prezi. Whatever tool you use to create and present, it will have its pros and cons. There’s no need to get rid of PowerPoint at all. You don’t have to throw the piano out the window. Just shoot the piano player (or replace him/her by a more skilled one)!