Looking to enhance employee communication and engagement? Ditch your slides and decks and focus on creating internal conversations that are two-way, receiver-driven and adhere to the principle of “less is more.”

That’s the advice of the author of a new book entitled Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’: Changing the world, one conversation at a time.

The promise of technology is the creation of conversations in presentations
“The promise of technology is the creation of conversations—intranets, podcasts, blogs, wikis, online chats, instant messaging, e-mail, text messaging, and more,” say author Eric Bergman, ABC, APR, MC. “The best of each of these emulates a back-and-forth exchange. The irony of our modern world is that over the past twenty years, the form of communication that started closest to a conversation—the presentation—has been taken further and further away by technology.”

Bergman points out that someone would never start a text conversation by typing: “I’m going to send you ten screens of information. When I’ve sent it, you can ask me some questions.”

But that’s exactly what happens in modern PowerPoint-type presentations. “I’m going to go through my presentation,” the person will say, “and I’ll save time at the end for questions.”

The implications to internal communication are staggering, especially if someone is attempting to influence internal conversations by developing a PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or SlideRocket presentation.

“The sad reality is that there is no evidence anywhere to indicate that PowerPoint-type presentations are even remotely effective,” says Bergman. “In fact, the evidence is pointing in exactly the opposite direction. For better communication outcomes and enhanced employee engagement, internal communicators need to ditch their slides and decks—and be the catalyst for encouraging everyone else internally to do the same.”

Bergman doesn’t make those statements lightly. The foreword to Five Steps to Conquer ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is written by John Sweller, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading authorities on how the human mind processes information to learn. Dr. Sweller’s research has been cited in more than 6,000 academic articles, journals and books, and 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 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. Readers should try these recommendations for themselves.

“This well-written, fascinating book provides us with effective presentation techniques, rather than the ineffective ones that have arisen without sufficient thought or consideration of their consequences.

“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 from Amazon.

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