PowerPoint presentations are a fairly common occurrence nowadays. And, more often than not, they aren’t as good as they could be. I’ve had gripes with the way most PowerPoint presentations are run for some time… the slides usually just say exactly what the presenter is, so I get bored watching them (I can read faster than they can talk).

Because presentations are an important piece of the business world, and often use PowerPoint (the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business even requires one in the application), I wanted to do an article on how to use PowerPoint effectively. Then I found this article by Gary Chapman (from the LBJ School of Public Affairs). It mentions everything I was going to say, and more.

I highly recommend reading the whole thing (and following the link at the bottom about the top ten PowerPoint sins as well). But I really think the most important point is made right up top, at number one:

“PowerPoint, when displayed via a projector, is a useful tool for showing audiences things that enhance what the speaker is saying. It is a useful tool for illustrating the content of a speech, such as by showing photos, graphs, charts, maps, etc., or by highlighting certain text from a speech, such as quotations or major ideas. It should not be used as a slide-show outline of what the speaker is telling the audience.” (emphasis mine)

This is how I’ve always thought PowerPoints needed to be used. But I rarely, if ever, see them used in this manner. Hopefully Gary’s post will provide some good direction on how to better use PowerPoint.

Who Loves PowerPoint?

The University of Chicago does! In fact, they now require it as part of their business school admissions process.

There are a few potential benefits to this new change. First and foremost, it shows that prospective students are technologically savvy enough to create four pages of PowerPoint slides. Because such presentations are so ubiquitous in the business world, this is crucial knowledge for any prospective business student to have.

Secondly, this provides a more “free-form” aspect to the application. This provides applicants a way to compensate for less-than-ideal test scores by showing off their creativity. Rose Martinelli, Chicago