Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Death by PowerPoint

I use PowerPoint all the time at work but when I'm in ministry and I see PowerPoint, it usually is a boredom enhancing tool.

The reasons?

Most speakers use PowerPoint as a way to keep their thoughts organized. And they want to share those notes with the rest of the world.

Uggh. Just talk to me.

Also, people put way too much text on the screens, use low grade graphics, and cheesy looking animations to get people's attention.

The best communicators today use very little PowerPoint at all except for putting up Scripture, showing a video clip or photo, or using it as a visual backdrop.

And if you use PowerPoint, or my personal preference for ministry, Keynote, using it in that fashion makes your points much more, well, poignant.

When you have to prepare a message, ask yourself this question "If there was one thing you wanted your audience to walk away with and apply to their life, what would it be?"

When you have that question answered, focus on that. Use PowerPoint or Keynote as a visual backdrop or to highlight one key thought or asking one question that you're spending time on answering.

Everything else you might talk about, although interesting and likely very important, may be a distraction from your message. Save it for another time.

For the really bold who want to dramatically improve their delivery, I highly suggest that you read "Communicating for a Change" by Andy Stanley and Lane Jones. 

Still in doubt? Go to Northpoint Church and watch or listen to Andy Stanley speak. He is one of the most gripping speakers I know and he doesn't use PowerPoint.

PS. Some of you may read this and question my Simple Church presentation in another post. The difference is that in a sermon, message, devotional, you're goal is life change, not information transmission. In my Simple Church presentation, the goal was information transmission.

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