“Please email us your training."
"What do you mean? How can I email you interactions, epiphanies, questions, reactions, reflections, and learning?”
"Just send your PowerPoint deck".
When did people start to think that “PowerPoint” is a synonym for “training”? Do they think the “T” in “PPT” stands for “training”? Training is so much more than a series of slides, handouts and bullet points. If your new year’s resolutions included cutting down on fats, sugars or caffeine, here are five reasons to add PowerPoint to your list of things to avoid in 2018.
- The stars of your training should be your trainees (or at worst, the trainer), but it should never be a PowerPoint deck. Like Kanye West at the MTV Awards, PowerPoint likes to steal the limelight. And if PowerPoint is the star of your training, your trainees might as well have stayed at home browsed the TED website.
- PowerPoint stops trainers and teachers developing. It eliminates the need for clear instructions, stops you reacting to trainees and eats up your planning time. Would Socrates have developed “Socratic questioning” if he relied on a slideshow? Probably not. What skills is your PowerPoint preventing you from developing?
- It stops interactions. Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone in the back of one of those taxis with the TV screens playing advertisements on a loop? Well a giant PPT has a similar effect, distracting your audience’s attention from you and from each other. Think of all the extra connections that could be made between your trainees if you just turned off the projector.
- Your PPT probably isn't as good as you think it is. A lot of the presentations I see are loaded with bullet points, bursting with text, deprived of images and creatively destitute. Are you sure this is the last impression you want to leave on your trainees?
- It took too long to make. I bet you spent much more time designing your PowerPoint slides than you did designing your training activities. And if you didn’t, I'm definitely right about point 4. Imagine all the amazing tasks you could have planned if you’d invested your time differently.
Okay, okay, PowerPoints might sometimes be useful in training, but only in the same way a soundtrack is useful in a movie. It’s a supporting role, not center stage. I challenge you to go cold turkey on PowerPoint for a month and see what happens. You might just fall back in love with training.