I recently asked a question to the KM4Dev list: Are there inspiring examples of delivering presentations without using PowerPoint? The message I received surprised me: Don’t blame the tool. Blame the speakers preparing and presenting; and blame the facilitators for not assisting the speakers in doing well.

Have a look at the second post: Options without PowerPoint.


PowerPoint apparently has some potential. The audience is happy about the visual support (especially in multilingual events); it seems that speakers need something to hang on to. How to make best use of it though? For me the minimum requirement is the formula David Gurteen defined:

To move FROM presentation + no time for Q&A TO presentation + reflection + conversation + Q&A 

My new mantras

  • As facilitator I will take care of the triangle speaker – audience – presentation.
  • Assist the speakers presenting content. Making an input is not everybody’s business! Make them think about their audience first.
  • Insist on visual aids that support the clear and well crafted key messages that stick.

We are “visually wired”

  • Make sure the audience is engaged during and after the input; and that the input leads to conversation. Play with the format, integrate the audience, open the space for reflection and discussion.

No more compromise

  • No cheat sheet on the wall, the speaker needs to know what she/ he wants to tell.
  • No PowerPoint marathon and no “sorry, no time anymore”.
  • No bullet points on projected slides. And noslideuments” as handouts (the projected slides are not necessarily the best document); make sure handouts are meaningful also after the workshop.