Thoughts and ideas from The Physician Executive
Physician leaders – please, no more PowerlessPoint presentations!
July 15, 2019 at 12:00 AM
by The Physician Executive
physician leader presentations, PowerPoint presentations

You’re a physician leader, standing in front of the room looking out at an expectant audience – maybe it’s your team of medical directors or your hospital’s administrators, maybe it’s an audience of hundreds or even thousands.

You’re ready to launch into your presentation – it’s your moment of Power. You have the capacity to hold the audience in your hand!

And with a couple of clicks of the remote button, YOU BLOW IT.

What happened?

You launched into a PowerlessPoint presentation!

Instead of engaging your audience with simple powerful ideas, you are forced to watch their eyes glaze over, their heads drop ever so slightly forward, or their fingers begin to twitch back and forth over their cell phone keyboards.

What are the top five characteristics of a PowerlessPoint presentation?

  • Flying bullets – you know what that looks like. Ten points listed on the slide, each beginning with the bullet. And my headache is made worse because each bulleted point comes flying in from the side or the top of the slide.
  • Slides blanketed in tiny text – I don’t know about you, but my aging eyes have a hard time reading stuff on slides, with less than 24 or 30 point-font! My cognition shuts down when it’s forced to read and then interpret all that writing on a slide.
  • Boring black-and-white – by about the third or fourth slide of a PowerPoint presentation consisting of slides covered in text or wandering graph lines and teeny descriptions along the axes, I suppress the urge to shove my fist in my mouth and stop from screaming. My eyes, my brain, my soul all yearn for interesting or provocative images that tell me stories and spark my imagination — and my attention!
  • Copy that’s read straight off the slide – come on guys and gals, this is pure laziness. I know you’re nervous about giving a presentation, but please don’t get up there and read your content straight off the slides. That insults my intelligence – I can do that equally well.
  • Mindbending bar graphs and pie charts – I know you have something valuable to say, and important points to make but please don’t bash me over the head with endless statistical images. Put those in my handout if you desperately need us to see them, but use them sparingly on the screen and add them to the story in ways that add real value to your presentation.

My favorite commentary is this YouTube funny, “Life After Death by PowerPoint 2010”. I suggest you watch it before your next physician leader gig delivering an impactful presentation!