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Death by Powerpoint

Powerpoint on Sunday morning for many churches is key element of worship. At a minimum, many churches use Powerpoint to project the song lyrics during the music. In addition many preachers use Powerpoint to help illustrate their sermon points in order to help the congregation to cement in their mind what they are communicating.

I use Powerpoint in my sermons. I often use Powerpoint to present additional scriptures in my sermon. This helps the congregation to not be constantly flipping through the Bible and missing what I am saying. Also, I use Powerpoint to project my main outline points in order to give them an additional punch as well as to post quotes (particularly if they are long). But I don’t like too much Powerpoint, because it can be too distracting for me when I preach. I want it to accent my sermon, not take away from it. Powerpoint has some use, but everything in moderation.

There has been a healthy debate within churches on the usefulness and boundaries of Powerpoint and how it either helps or detracts from a preacher's sermon. The key is that Powerpoint can have it's advantages, if it is done right.

Check out this "Powerpoint" called “Death by PowerPoint” by Alexei Kapterev. (Click on the image below to watch it.) He talks about why so many PowerPoint presentations are so bad. More importantly, he teaches you what you can do to make your presentations stand out and worth the investment.

Also,Michael Hyatt has discussed this subject on his blog and recommends two helpful sites on better presentations. The first is Presentation Zen and the other is Beyond Bullets.

For a contrarian view, I came across an interesting article concerning the detriments of Powerpoint. According to some scientists, Powerpoint may not be a very helpful way to communicate.

"Humans just don't like absorbing information verbally and visually at the same time - one or the other is fine but not both simultaneously. Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia found the brain is limited in the amount of information it can absorb - and presenting the same information in visual and verbal form - like reading from a typical Powerpoint slide - overloads this part of memory and makes absorbing information more difficult."

In light of all the debate, I do believe that Powerpoint has the potential to be an extremely helpful and powerful tool, if it is used correctly. Slapping together a presentation with Powerpoint doesn't automatically make it more compelling and memorable. Just as it takes time and attention to prepare to speak publicly, it takes the same amount of care and attention to design and prepare Powerpoint.

Make you presentations and sermons count and don't kill your audience using Powerpoint!

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Nice post, Bill! When you think about it, it makes perfect sense why we can't read PowerPoint and listen to a speaker saying the same thing at the same time.

When we read, we are actually listening to the words inside our heads. If we're listening to the words in our heads, we can't also be listening to the speaker at the same time! I should go back and mention this on my blog - I don't even think I've addressed it yet. :-)

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