« Kamishibai: Lessons in visual storytelling from Japan | Main | Progress and the intentional selection of less »

December 20, 2011



Even for large conferences... many bulletpoints are killers, and snooze inducers. Then those that read their bulletpoints, word for word, should be walked out on (I do it regularly).

One of my consistently best reviewed talks on Social Network Analysis consists of slides with just a Year and a Client Name. I then proceed to tell the story how each client applied SNA in an interesting/useful way... no other pics or lists.

Talk, interact with your audience, tell them a story, ask them for theirs!


These are valid points. But PowerPoint has been ingrained in people's minds and many of us find it an easy way to absorb information -- a very familiar format. Agreed there are the standard pitfalls, but there is something to be said for good utilization of a standard communications mechanism.

Michael Hughes

I agree with Roscoe, I get tired of PowerPoint bashing. It's a good enough tool, get over it! I just don't understand the rationale of the Steve Jobs quote. I've attended many many presentations by people who knew what they were talking about who used PowerPoint and communicated their points well.


Is there a iPad version?


Misleading title or confused article? Title makes it sound like using slides if for people who don't know what they're talking about but at the end it's clearly about meetings. Sure, PowerPoint presentations don't make sense in a brainstorming session that's requires all participant's interaction to solve a problem but they are useful in talks.

Even Steve Jobs used slides in all his product launch announcements.

Don't twist quotes around outside their context.


If you think PowerPoint works, sit down an hour after a presentation and write what you learnt. I've started asking questions to colleagues after presentations and the level of information transfer is dismal. Now do this after a meeting of "hashing things out".

I think PowerPoint has been around for so long that it has lowered our expectations. We have simply forgotten what it is to have a good meeting or even a good presentation. I think Steve Jobs is right: if you know what you're talking about, just sit with your colleagues and talk about it.

Fred E. Miller

Good reminder, Garr.

For larger groups, slides, when composed and used correctly, can help the audience GET IT!

Thanks for the Post!

Doug Weeks

Yes, good post. I get it. The boards encourage collaboration and interaction. Nice.


Anyone thinking that PowerPoint is a 'good tool' or a 'bad tool' from this post doesn't get it.

Mr. Job's 'aversion to slides' had nothing to do with the tool itself, but how it was used.

A hammer is a tool, but you don't want to use it to crack an egg or open a glass jar.

If you are giving a lecture or presenting something for viewing and not discussion, a GOOD presentation can help. 27 slides of bullets only in a font size of 8 is not a good presentation.

For a meeting that requires discussion and hashing out ideas, a white board and blank flip charts may be better tools.

Tools are only as good.... or as bad... as their users.

I agree with the idea of knowing one's subject. But you also need to know the objective, the audience, the venue and how best use the tools to meet the needs of the preceding.

Nitesh  Ahir

I think he's talking about two different things: the disease of using PowerPoint inside companies for decision making and making publication presentations. One does negate the other.

Prof R Panchanadhan, India

We cannot be slaves to the ppt. The ppt is used only as a pointer. The person has the power to translate the pointer into information. If a picture could speak thousand words, a picture on the ppt will help us use 1000 words to speak about. The importance of ppt cannot be discounted through such a sweeping statement as that of Jobs. It is similar to saying, "Those who can, do; and those who cannot, teach" This is derogatory to the teaching profession. Just for the heck of it, will they accept this statement: "Those can, use ppt; those who cannot, talk against its use"!!

Vince Delmonte

Agree with the sentiment about Power Point only being 1 of many tools, and that it may not always be the right tool for the job.

John Steele

In my public speaking classes, I use Jobs's product launches -- done with slide decks! -- as examples of the best way to use PowerPoint in a speech.


I think we've taken the ppt to the extreme, where every presentation is with a powerpoint! Because there are so many ineffective speakers that do not utilize this tool appropriately, it is starting to get a bad rap.

Jake Hackl

The use of PowerPoint can form a wall of silent submission in the audience and make it more of a walk-through event rather than an engaging one. More effort needs to be make the slide interactive and open and the presenter has to make more effort to bring out the audience.

The use of ppt is a cultural one but sadly the education in this post isn't as widely known as it should be...yet!

Thanks for the post.


Just one of the MANY things Jobs was wrong about. Whiteboard, PPT--what's the difference? They're both tools. The issue is how you use them. I've seen just as many pathetic, boring "chalkboard" classes as I have bad PPT presentations. A good presenter can encourage engagement with PPT just as easily as with any other tool.

Isaacson's book has really opened my eyes to Jobs, who now seems to me mostly to have been a rude, uncouth bully.


Well, I agree with him upto a certain level, but it cannot be denied that nowadays, going into a meeting for a presentation with a powerpoint presentation is almost unimaginable.

Marc Siegel

I tend to agree with Roscoe as well. PowerPoint can add value to a presentation, but not every presentation or meeting should have slides. When PowerPoint takes center stage, then there is often very little room for discussion and collaboration. But when the presenter is strategically using visuals to support the discussion/presentation, the information conveyed becomes more memorable. In other words, it's not the clubs, it's more likely the golfer at fault when a presentation falls flat.

Marc Siegel


Yeah I think the title is a little misleading too. I believe Walt Mossberg said it before that there was always a rule at their D conferences of people not using slides. And Steve Jobs wanted to use them anyway. It was only when Walt insisted that Jobs then backed down. Although at one of the D conferences they made an exception because he was unveiling iTunes at the time.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Search this blog

Get the books

TEDx Talks

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Amazon Affiliate Disclosure

    • Amazon Affiliate Disclosure
      Amazon Affiliate Disclosure This website contains Amazon affiliate links to products I use and recommend, which means that I receive a small commission on the sale of books and other products featured on the site. I only recommend books or other products which I have personally used unless otherwise noted. The purpose of this website is not to make money, but the small commissions do help to pay for the support of this website.