Powerpoint is dead.

Sorry, to have to be the bearer of bad news but the sooner we all realize this and move on the better.  

That fancy sales presentation with all the best figures and data in it? Dead.

That huge investor deck with 10 bullets per slide? Dead.

That recruiting deck showing your prospective A-players and employees the reason they should lay it all on the line or come work for you? Dead.

All of them. Dead. Dead. Dead.  

Look, I’ll answer the immediate objection that you’re screaming at the screen right now.

I’m sure Microsoft will continue to sell a bajillion dollars in Powerpoint. People love Power Point.  And you should be thrilled! This means that while your competition is playing the laggard, you and your company can leverage the Power Point killer – story and storytelling.

 

Story and storytelling IS the new power point.

 

Powerpoint is easy. Powerpoint is lazy.  There’s no human emotion, struggle, or storytelling in Powerpoint.

It’s Story that builds empathy and emotion with your audience. It’s Story that creates an instant connection. It’s Story that connects with raving fans. And it’s story that allows entrepreneurs to create amazing products and change the world through entrepreneurship.  Story is the most powerful business tool we, as entrepreneurs posses!

This Story strategy isn’t just for entrepreneurs.  No company has arguably changed the way we live, purchase, or consume in the last 10 years than Amazon.  Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s visionary CEO, is lauded as one of the greatest business leaders, not just of this decade or century, but all time.

And wait for it… Jeff Bezos, one of the greatest CEO’s and visionary entrepreneurs EVER, has outlawed Powerpoint presentations from use by his Senior Leadership Team (SLT)!

Instead, Bezos requires a 4-6 page “narrative” that each member must read before the team.

Why would a huge corporate company like Amazon forbid Powerpoint (PPT) from it’s most critical thinkers?

Because PPT contains just the facts but no story. No heart. No emotion. No critical thought. No customer experience. No differentiator. Bezos says that a story is more effective because it forces better thought and understanding of what’s important and how things are connected.

In other words, if there’s a story that sells there will be belief, emotional connection, and energy behind an idea or product.  No story, no belief, no connection = no sale.

In addition, everyone knows your Powerpoint is a lie. Or at it’s best it’s a very incomplete story. We all do the same thing when it comes to Powerpint – we put in all the best data points, all the best facts, and tell a very one-sided story.  We’ve been doing it for the past 30 or so years and everyone knows it!  You know it.  As soon as a sales rep or your boss puts up a PPT full of stats — you instantly call out “bulls**t!” in your mind.  Right?  And if you’re thinking it, everyone else is thinking the same thing.

If Bezo’s forward thinking story focus didn’t convince you – there’s another well known company down the block focussing on story – Google.

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai is discouraging and training senior managers from using bullets and test in their presentation slides. Now Pichai isn’t going as far as outlawing PPT but the message is the same. No one believes all your bullets and text in your presentation.

Pichai is focused on moving Google to a storytelling organization and is pushing the use of visual storytelling in all presentations.

He calls this his new storytelling slides “brain-friendly presentations”.

Pichai cites science to back his vision. It’s been well documented by cognitive scientists that we are unable to multitask as well as we think we can. The brain cannot do two things at once and do them equally well.

Personally, I’ve participated in several exercises where this has proven the case. One of my favorites was with a partner who gave me a list of 7 items in order and I had to put them in order while watching a video for some other specifics. It was a hilarious train-wreck and illustrated the point perfectly. I wasn’t able to multitask at all.

Pichai has data that supports the notion that when we see and read text on the screen we can’t listen to the speaker and retain all the info.

Even University of Washington biologist John Medina, who has done in depth research into persuasion and how the brain processes information has similar advice.  The author of Brain Rules, says, to burn most PowerPoint decks and start over with fewer words and more pictures.

Essentially, get rid of all the bullets and add some story!

If science, Amazon, and Google aren’t enough to convince you I don’t know what will. Leave your competition in the dust, differentiate your business in your market — simply by ditching the Power Point and telling your story.

Powerpoint is dead.

And it is the dawn of the business storytelling era.

Are you and your company leading the pack or being left behind in the Powerpoint crew?

Claim your competitive advantage and integrate storytelling into every touch point of your business before your competition does.

 

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About Marc Gutman

I'm Marc Gutman the founder and do-whatever-needs-to-be-done guy at WILDSTORY. I'm a storyteller, entrepreneur, husband, father, adventure seeker, coffee lover, notebook snob, and closet sketchnoter. I believe that telling your story is the ultimate competitive advantage in business -- probably the only one left these days. As a result I am obsessive about branding, story structure, design and tend to appreciate anyone who is too. I love living in the great state of Colorado and try to play outdoors as much as possible. When I'm not in the office you can usually find me doing one of the following: snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, camping, cycling, kiteboarding, or fishing with a cold craft beer in hand.

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