Need for condensed, visual presentations mark slow demise of PowerPoint
Organizations across the world are starting to see the need for platforms that help them shorten presentations in dynamic and direct ways. While PowerPoint still has a 95% share of the presentation software market1, forward-thinking companies, like Apple, Amazon and Facebook, have already taken steps to retire their hour-long sales presentations and decks full of tech-speak and industry-speak in favor of new presentation styles, according to Sheffield Marketing Partners.
"This transition has been happening slowly for some time," says Joseph McCormack, Managing director and co-founder of Sheffield Marketing Partners. "The business world relied so heavily on PowerPoint for so long that it almost forgot how to communicate. Now, we’re finally seeing a change. Organizations are opting to simplify. They’re distilling messages into what really matters -- without the extra additives."
This idea is reinforced by burgeoning concepts like "information triage," which remind communicators to refine information until it is at its most basic. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is leading the way in this trend.
Bezos’ presentations have been made famous for using minimal words, if any at all, and more visuals. A typical Bezos presentation, for example, may have four words on a slide; as opposed to the average 40 for most PowerPoint users. He refers to his style as "picture superiority." According to Bezos, "the brain processes information more effectively when the information is presented in pictures and words instead of words alone."
More visually oriented alternatives to PowerPoint that follow this trend have begun to surface. Prezi, for example, is one of the better-known replacements for PowerPoint. By utilizing zooming camera movements and a map-like layout, Prezi is a departure visually from PowerPoint’s linear slides and clipart.
However, as McCormack attests, successful presentations are more than just visual and brief -- they also need to be narratives. Sheffield Marketing Partners (www.sheffieldcompany.com) is a boutique agency that specializes in narrative message development and visual storytelling.