The Leading Cause of Death by PowerPoint

I was talking last week with my next awesome client about the problem of Death by PowerPoint, and robwhy so many people still don’t get it. Our conversation led me to a realization about why smart people continue to give bad presentations.

Dull Slide Decks, and the People Who Use Them

We were mainly discussing the problem of dense, wordy slides. I continue to be amazed that this is still an issue. This in spite of the prevalence of TED Talks, which seem to be near-universally admired, and the hero-worship of Steve Jobs, who paved the way for visually-oriented, text-free slides.

I have several theories, which I’ve expounded upon before:

  • Presenters want their slide decks to be understood by people who missed the meeting. But this completely cheats the audience in the room.
  • People think their subject matter is too complex to be reduced to images and headlines.
  • And, of course, the mother of all excuses: “I don’t have time!”

I understand that it can also be a matter of corporate culture. If everyone in a big organization is presenting the same way, it’s all-too-easy to run with the herd.


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