To use or not to use slides for your presentation, that is the question

To use Presentation Slides or Not

Are you stuck in 21st century Hamletian dilemma ‘To use or not to use slides’ for your next presentation? To help you resolve this mental crisis, here’s a breakup of reasons why you should be or should not be using PowerPoint, Keynote or some other presentation software for your upcoming presentation:

Why you should not be using slides:

It causes ‘death’: Mind numbing slides overloaded with text, bullet points and tacky clip arts have created a fear psychosis like no other, say critics. It has led to the modern day plague called ‘Death by PowerPoint’

It has become a crutch rather than an aid: What was to become a visual aid has become a crutch that presenters use to limp through their presentation. With presenters reading slide after slide, audience are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea- should they listen to the presenter or read the slides?

It’s ugly: Presentation softwares like PowerPoint and Keynote, say critics, kills creativity of the presenter and forces them to fill the laid out blocks with text. In the end, all presentations just look the same: bland and lifeless.



Don’t use any presentation software if you are going to dump all your information on your slides and turn them into bullet points. Or are planning to read from those slides verbatim and do not wish to follow the basic principles of design while designing the presentation.

Why you should be using slides:

Better organization: Presentation tools like PowerPoint or Keynote helps you separate the wheat from the chaff and put the crux of the matter in few slides. With one main message on each slide, you can stay assured that the most important points of your speech are remembered by your audience. Here’s a hilarious picture we found trending on Twitter: How NASA presented in 1961 before PowerPoint came. The picture might be fictional but is a perfect depiction of the chaos that existed before PowerPoint came:

NASA in 1961 before PowerPoint came















Higher Retention: Researchers at the Wharton School of Business found that presenters using visual language were considered more persuasive by their audiences, 67% of whom felt that presenters who combined visual and verbal components were more persuasive. Besides, more the senses are involved better the audience experience! Dale’s Cone of Experience model also reaffirms the point: people remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and 50% of what they hear and see. A BIG reason to use PowerPoint or Keynote now! But remember: minimum text, maximum visuals.

Aids in recall: You can rely on PowerPoint or your Keynote presentation when memory fails you. The key message displayed prominently on the slide will help you avoid any long embarrassing long pauses and the ums and ahs as you try to recall your next message. Say goodbye to cue cards too!



If you wish to use PowerPoint or Keynote to enhance your message with eye-catchy visuals and show the audience what you are telling them through your speech, definitely go for it. Create beautiful presentations that will be remembered by your audience, for all the good reasons!


Presentation tools like PowerPoint and Keynote are blank canvasses. They are neither beautiful nor ugly. It’s what you put into them that’ll make your slides look beautiful or ugly. Secondly, just like you do not show your written speech to your audience, you do not display it on your slides too. Slides are meant to visually reinforce your key message. So, please, please do not dump information on your slides and read them word for word. It beats the whole purpose of a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation.

So, let’s stop giving PowerPoint and other presentation tools a bad name! After all “PowerPoint doesn’t kill presentations, people do.” (Tweet if you agree with this)

Hope the article will help you come out of the Hamletian dilemma “To use or not to use slides” for your next presentation.


P.S. Another BIG advantage of using presentation slides is that you can upload the deck online on authorSTREAM and add to the wall of knowledge. And in case you did not know it already, authorSTREAM supports PowerPoint, Keynote as well as PDF presentations. Looking forward to see your awesome slides!

About Author
Anuj Malhotra

A potter maniac, I live in a world inhabited by wizards and Marvel's superheroes. Writing is my defence mechanism (Mr. Freud, analyze this). Presentations are my new found love.

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