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PowerPoint or Whiteboard? Picking the Right Tool for the Job

Whether your job finds you in the Navy or in the marketing department of Old Navy, PowerPoint is probably an essential tool for any presentation. But as we've reported in the past, PowerPoint isn't perfect for every kind of pitch, and it's often badly misused. Crafting a great presentation often comes down to knowing when to fire up PowerPoint, and when to fall back on other tools.

As the Speaking PowerPoint blog recently discussed, you should evaluate your goals to decide how to deliver your visuals. You can divide the presentation universe into three big buckets, for example, and choose your approach accordingly:

Educate and inform. The traditional PowerPoint approach works best here. Use best practices, like no more than 3 points per slide, and your audience will appreciate your presentation.

Excite or persuade. PowerPoint still works well in this situation, but switch gears from a text-heavy, bullet-laden deck to one that's full of visuals. Studies show that your audience is more inclined to agree with you when you tell a story with images than with dry facts.

Drive a decision. Now it's time to put PowerPoint away and use a white board or flip chart. This approach can help people come together to a common decision with less conflict.

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