Are You Hopelessly Addicted to PowerPoint?
12-step programs have saved and enhanced thousands and thousands of lives. There are
programs for every addiction imaginable and there is definitely a need for a PowerPoint (PP)
Anonymous program. Is PP dependency life threatening like other addictions? No, absolutely
not. However, it can murder a presentation and keep the audience in pain and misery. We don’t
How do you know if you’re in need of a PP intervention? If a point you want to make cannot
be fully explained without a chart, graph or photo, use a slide to illustrate and clarify. If you are
using PP for any other reason, YOU MAY HAVE A PROBLEM! It is important in recovering from
addiction to take it as slowly as you need to—it may take you a day or a month to finish a
step—go at your own speed. The point is to fully recover and free yourself of the PowerPoint’s
power over you. Imagine not having to worry about any technical difficulties impeding your
STEP ONE: Admit you are dependent on your PP slides and be willing to explore why. Some people feel this is a safety net and that everything they need to say has to be right there or they won’t be able to remember what they are supposed to say. This may help you; however, it disconnects you from the audience. Remember, it’s about them! Others feel they must send the audience home with handouts that contain every bit of information they shared. And still others think that this is a way to make sure all the visual learners stay engaged. Quite to the contrary, reading bullet points or full sentences does not satisfy a visual person’s needs.
Look in the mirror and say, “I am addicted to PowerPoint because _____________________.”
Great! Now that you know your why, we can move toward healing.
STEP TWO: Commit to finding someone to help you through this “detox” process. It can be a coach, a family member, a friend, a fellow presenter—anyone you will be comfortable with and who will be totally honest with and supportive of you. We’ll refer to this person as Coach. It’s so much more fun and effective to work with someone who can give you another perspective. Brainstorming with others can bring awareness you otherwise wouldn’t discover.
STEP THREE: Fearlessly rehearse your presentation—slides and all—to your Coach so he or she can give you general feedback on what they experienced as an audience member before getting into specifics. Once you work these steps, you can move to the more detailed work of creating a fabulous, engaging and memorable speech with no or only the few necessary PP slides.
One day at a time, one step at a time, begin your journey. If you’d like to free yourself from your PowerPoint addiction, please feel free to reach out for help!
President, The Zen Speaker
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