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Is PowerPoint A Dinosaur?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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Is PowerPoint becoming a dinosaur for use by business professionals and PR flacks for presentations? According to a recent article in the Finance portion of the Wall Street Journal, perhaps!

In the article titled, “Say Goodbye to PowerPoint,” Lonna J. Williams, chief executive of a small San Diego-based company employing about 20 people called Ridge Diagnostics, was quoted as saying "[PowerPoint] didn't seem like a solution to capture a doctor's attention given we were talking about cutting edge technology." She used an iPad instead to make her presentation to "sell her company's depression-detecting blood test after realizing that the PowerPoint presentations her salespeople used just weren't cutting it."  

We all know that Microsoft’s PowerPoint program has been the gold standard for presentations and slideshows for over the past twenty years. Indeed, many of us have used the program to make presentations to clients and customers and within our organizations.

The FINS article continued, "PowerPoint has so dominated business presentations since its introduction more than 20 years ago by Microsoft that it's virtually become a noun in and of itself, much like Kleenex, Jell-O or Xerox. Among small businesses that want to differentiate themselves in a crowded environment, however, presentation applications designed specifically for the iPad are becoming increasingly popular. Experts say that iPad apps are particularly relevant for small businesses which often rely on face-to-face interactions with a single client or a small group.

"The iPad's touch screen allows the presenter to use it as a whiteboard, driving real-time engagement based on a client's questions or needs. And the iPad also enables business representatives to have access to company data or information at all times, allowing them to make the unexpected sales presentation, say at a conference or a social event, says Jan Schultink, a former McKinsey strategy consultant turned presentation designer."

At present, PowerPoint presentations have to be converted to be viewed on iPads and other tablet devices. While apparently Microsoft plans to release a new version of the program to enable users to prepare presentations for tablet devices later this year, for right now “converting PowerPoint to be viewed on an iPad binds the presenter to a linear format, whereas native iPad applications allow one to skip to particular sections and subsections.”

"Navigability is one reason why Williams at Ridge Diagnostics switched to the iPad for presentations.," said the FINS WSJ article. "'If a doctor has a particular interest, they can go right to that particular area of the presentation in a very simple way without scrolling through,' she says. 'The graphics are beautiful, it's interactive and it allows sales people maneuverability.'"

Apps that enable presentations to be made on tablet devices will probably become more and more popular and replace PowerPoint as the gold standard for presentations, particular to small groups or single clients.

As technology changes, flacks and other professionals need to adapt to stay competitive. Unless Microsoft successfully updates and improves its PowerPoint program, it could find itself with a dinosaur on its hands. And like the real animal, dinosaurs in technology are extinct.



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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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