I have been attending and even delivering training recently. I have been presenting a section of a half day update course that has been delivered to our field force, covering the segment of the training that covers our updated mobile call logging system.  I was sent a PowerPoint file that listed the points that needed to be covered.  I struggled to get it before the training session so I arrived early and sat in the training room to see what points had been included.  I also had a long hard think about what else we needed to cover, and hurriedly added a few slides of my own bullet points.

I can remember, in years gone by, when training was delivered by knowledgeable people who understood their subject.  Indeed, when I did a Network Fundamentals course in 1988 we took notes as we built things for ourselves, configured protocols and sent data in order to see for ourselves how it was done.

Back in those days, about 12 BP (Before PowerPoint) we relied on our own notes and experiences.  Now it seems, sitting an audience down in front of a screen and talking them through a series of slides is considered by many to be an acceptable substitute.

The worst kind of PowerPoint presenter is the one who stands at the front of the class, reading out his presentation slides word for word then hands out a print of his notes with the course assessment form at the end of the day.

PowerPoint is an excellent tool for imparting general information, or even as a visual checklist for the trainer to ensure that he covers all the relevant points.  It’s also great for displaying diagrams and bullet points.  It is a means to an end, not the end itself.

Style is no substitute for content, as anyone who has ever bought a designer label, only to get it home to find that the item is no different to the unbranded item at a fifth of the price will attest.