A new book is challenging all assumptions surrounding the use of the world’s most ubiquitous slideware program, including the overriding assumption that presentation programs like PowerPoint are necessary or desirable for effective communication.

Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ has the potential to revolutionize the way both presenters and audiences view presentations in the future. The book provides practical tools that can be used by presenters and audiences to put the mind-numbing boredom of 'Death by PowerPoint' in its place—once and for all.

“If you ask people why they’re using so many slides or why they’re using slides at all, they often respond with: that’s the way it’s done,” says author Eric Bergman. “That’s the way it’s done has led us to where we are now. We now have a new expression to describe the phenomenon: ‘Death by PowerPoint’. And it’s killing us.”

No indication that slides are effective in presentaitons
Bergman points out that there is absolutely no research anywhere to indicate that PowerPoint or any other slideware program is even remotely effective. And he doesn’t make this statement lightly.

The book’s foreword is written by John Sweller, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts on cognitive science and how the human mind processes information to learn. Professor Sweller’s research has been cited more than 6,000 times in academic articles, books and journals. He has graduated more than 40 doctoral students.

“Currently, we use technology such as PowerPoint because we can, not because it results in improvements,” Professor Sweller writes. “I feel the evidence is overwhelming that the way in which we currently organize presentations is ineffective and inappropriate.”

The book’s first chapter—The Pied Piper of PowerPoint—focuses on 10 assumptions surrounding the use of slides in all types of presentations, plus the overriding assumption that they’re necessary or desirable in the first place.

The next five chapters are five simple steps that can be implemented to reduce the likelihood of evoking ‘Death by PowerPoint’ on others, while enhancing communication effectiveness:
  1. Put the Audience First by tailoring the discussion to the audience’s specific needs.
  2. Structure the Conversation by using a proven framework to put ideas into context.
  3. Minimize Visual Aids by questioning the value of each and every slide.
  4. Convey Your Message & Personality by creating a two-way, conversational exchange.
  5. Answer Questions Throughout by keeping your answers short to enhance interaction and interest.
“It doesn't matter whether people read one additional word of the book," says Bergman. "If people take these five steps to heart and actively incorporate them, their presentations will improve. And so will their success."

The book concludes with insight into “Overcoming the Addiction” and introduces the audience manifesto, which provides audiences everywhere with a tool to say: “Please … we don’t want any more boring, mind-numbing, slide-driven presentations.

"There is life after PowerPoint, and we want to live it.”

“The strong research base that underpins this book provides reassurance that the recommended techniques have been tested and actually do work in a variety of contexts,” writes Professor Sweller. “Readers should try these recommendations for themselves.

“Eric Bergman’s techniques are a window to the future of this important human activity.”

Read the foreword by Professor Emeritus John Sweller.

Read a sample of the book.

Buy the book.