The advent of computer technology has revolutionised the way we get our message across, and in training, there is no doubt that one of the most controversial is PowerPoint.

I remember the first time I witnessed a PowerPoint presentation; I thought, wow, this looks good. But, of course, please remember that we had Overhead Projector Slides (OHP) before we had PowerPoint or any other presentation tool. No wonder I was excited. To make an OHP slide took forever and involved photocopying the picture you wanted to make onto the clear plastic acetate. You then had to attach the plastic to the frame of the slide; yes, it took forever. But, saying that, it still didn’t matter to some people how long it took, and these people still managed to produce (what appeared) 100s and 100s of slides. Yes, it was ‘death by OHP’!

Of course, the introduction of PowerPoint allowed us to go to town on our creativity. Soon, we could do swish transitions and have pictures and even animations when we want to. But, of course, the people who practised ‘death by’ could now develop their art, and soon we had a significant plague on our hands and the creation of ‘death by PowerPoint’. Unfortunately, this plague hasn’t disappeared, and I am constantly amazed by how many trainers practise this art in the belief that they are training.

Trainers that do this, please read the following statement:

Reading PowerPoint Slides Isn’t Training

I can understand why people fall into this trap. The PowerPoint slide is a handy prompt, and before you know it, you are following the prompt in a manner you can’t leave. Before you know it, you are reading from the screen. Reading from the screen does not check understanding or application.

PowerPoint is a great tool, but that is precisely what it is, a tool. Over-reliance on it should never be accepted. If you are a trainer, please review your PowerPoint and ask yourself, honestly, do I over-rely on it. I have met many trainers on my courses who have admitted that they overuse it, and I can understand how this can come about.

Remember, PowerPoint should complement and not rule

If you want to learn effective training skills, our train the trainer courses will provide you with the skills to engage your audience, and you can use PowerPoint in the manner it was designed, a visual aid. We offer these courses as remote options, face-to-face open courses and in-house delivery. You can read more about our 5 Star rated Trustpilot courses here.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.