When To Use PowerPoint Presentations?

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Here is the definitive answer about when to use PowerPoint for your presentations, and when to avoid it.

How to choose the right medium for your presentation?

Why use ppt slides in presentations?

Is PowerPoint appropriate for all occasions?

These are some questions that even the most experienced presenters can’t answer with enough conviction.

Our experience suggests that, using a one-size-fits-all approach reduces the effectiveness of your communication.

In this article, we’ll talk about when to use Powerpoint presentations and the right medium to use when PowerPoint is not appropriate. The right medium is based on the nature of your presentation and the size of the audience.

The chart below tells you where different media fit in, to communicate your message in the most effective way possible.

Chart on the right media for communication
When to use Powerpoint Presentations

The Impact of Audience Size

The first factor to consider while choosing the right medium for your message is the size of the audience.

Usually, the lesser the number of people in your audience, the higher will be your interaction with them. So, the medium you choose should support that interaction.

Small Size: If you’re presenting to one or two individuals, a quick sketch on the back of the envelope can create better impact than a full blown PowerPoint presentation.

Medium Size: If your audience size is less than 12 people, a flip chart or a white board can help you engage with them better than a set of slides.

Large Size: For an audience size of around 20 people, use of slides is more effective.

Really large Size: For a really large audience size, say, 100 people and over, it is better to make an oral presentation. It’s very easy to lose audience attention in a big setting.

Nothing holds audience attention better than your eye-contact. So, connect with them directly and appeal to their emotions.

You may also like: Confessions of a horrified audience – an award winning presentation

The Impact of Nature of Communication

The other factor for choosing the right medium is the nature of your communication.

The thumb rule is as follows:

For Micro details:

If your presentation has a lot of data or micro details, it is always appropriate to use documents or handout to convey the information.

Send the documents beforehand and use the meeting time to discuss only the inferences from the micro details.

Presenters make the mistake of sticking the entire document onto PowerPoint (what we call presocuments) and insist on taking their audience through every bit of the excruciating detail in slow motion.

Please spare your audience and realize when the no slides policy makes sense!

For Macro details or Concepts

PowerPoint is the right medium to convey ideas.

If you use it inappropriately, you’ll lose your audience, lose business and bring down your brand value.

If you liked this article and would like to build your skills, we recommend the Presentations Skills Training Video + Slides. . The video covers a step by step process to create business presentations and has multiple examples and exercises. See the details of the self-learning program here >>

So, when to use PowerPoint presentations?

Use PowerPoint only to communicate big ideas to a reasonably big audience. For all other purposes, choose a more appropriate tool to support your message.

Related: 5 rules to make effective slides

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