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Seb Anthony

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Am I old fashioned?


Some clients I work for ask that their trainers use PowerPoint instead of OHP for slides. I feel PP is really a presentation tool, and not easily adapted for training (mainly in soft skills). I would be interested to hear what others think. I find it's less flexible to use than old fashioned acetates (although I use PP to generate acetates!) - and I use very few anyway. It also means having the projector on (even if blanked) the whole time, even though you use it only sporadically during a session/course. Would welcome others' points of view.


Jennifer James

15 Responses

  1. Oh nooooooo HP
    Hello, I appreciate your point of view so please don’t be offended when I say that I am one of those people who hate OHP. I always find myself groaning when I am in a session with nothing but OHP and I confess using one might sway me as a purchaser when contracting external consultants. I’d just think oh no, how up-to-date are they? Not much!

    PP is for presentations, yes, but is usually used to death by people with poor presentation skills. I do think PP looks so much more professional but we have encouraged our managers towards using it in interactive sessions and it really works well when it isn’t the sole focus of attention.

    I have hidden our old OHP in the cupboard! You are welcome to it!

  2. use PP don’t let it use you
    I was a “late adopter” of Power Point, prefering for years to use a flip chart, the pages of which could then be afixed to the walls as aide memoires.
    More recently I have come to love PP for the animated build up you can do. I still use the flip charts in the old way but PP is very versatile, currently I am able to use it for audio and video clips as well.
    “Death by Vu-foil” is also possible as “death by power point” but PP can be a great tool if you master it.

  3. PowerPoint
    We use PP during 99.9% of our training sessions.

    It’s right that people tend to think OHP’s and Flipcharts are dated, but the real reason behind us using PP is that its so versatile. Delegate workbooks can be created, trainers notes can be inserted onto the slides to utlise throughout the training and it looks professional when its done correctly.

    I say you should definitely get PP down to a tee, it makes life so much easier and looks incredible when you brand your training with company logo etc…..

    Anyway, just my thoughts, I’m def PRO PP!

    Calcom Group

  4. I’m with you
    Actually I’m not completely with either camp on this. My experience is that both tools are overused and a little done to death.

    Powerpoint presentations are often badly crafted, full of visual effects that amused their creator but that just annoy the audience. They often distract from the material rather than add to it and many trainers/presenters tend to leave the presentation visible constantly so that it becomes the only focus of the training.

    However I think that a lot of those criticisms can apply to OHP users too. Unless you need to deliver a lecture I don’t think either really have their place.

    I’m a fan of experiential learning so that people learn from experience, I’m quite capable of writing Aims and Objectives on a board or a flipchart so they can be revisited. Trainees are encouraged to make their own notes and relevant points are reinforced in hand outs rather than on a wall so that people can actually take them with them.

    So really I don’t use either of them regularly. But Powerpoint is definitely more of an annoying distraction than OHP unless it’s done well.

  5. Poerpoint is a tool, not the whole toolbox.
    Powerpoint is a very good and versatile tool that can do everything that an OHP can do and more.
    But it is still only a tool.
    If our only interest in the trainer is the reducing size of the pile of OHP’s that he brought in then we can be sure that he would be just as tedious if he had the same slides on Powerpoint.
    Powerpoint is not what makes the presentation, it is what the presenter does with it.

  6. I’ve turned to PowerPoint in the last year
    12 months ago I, like you, only used PowerPoint to create well set-out OHPs. Now I use ppt to aid my delivery and wouldn’t go back. However, I appreciate your comment that if you only use it fleetingly, keeping it switched on is a problem (unless you have a very quiet fan on your projector). You might want to think about using it in ‘chunks’ and switching it off in-between times as I do. The quality of my sessions has increased immeasurably and I get good feedback. I do nothing fancy – just build up my models in a what I hope is a thoughtful way (no skidding words or sound effects at all!). I find my flip chart style a bit limiting as my writing often ends up sloping down the board but I still use the flip for a bit of balance and for writing down delegates’ responses to questions etc. Interspersed with activities and discussions – and used sparingly – ppt is good! Happy to send examples if you like.

  7. Behavioural Skills Training on PowerPoint
    I do plenty of behavioural skills and team building workshops and nearly always have some PowerPoint slides as part of my sessions. It’s useful for me, as I can cut and paste items from previous sessions, update and modify them easily, and prepare all the other resources that course participants like to take away (particularly the theorists/ reflectors).

    When I’m leading exercises, there aren’t many slides, except to show the rules/ questions to consider etc to the teams and keep them on track. Brainstorming and those spontaneous exercises are on flipcharts, or simply discussed in a group.

    If you want to use them sporadically or more interactively, find out how to black/ white the screen when they are not needed, and use a pen to write on them live (press F1 during a slide show and all these buttons are displayed). Most projectors can be turned off, particularly if they are next needed after a break, when you can fire them up again with less disturbance.

    Powerpoint is only a tool. Whether that is for presentations, training, inductions, meetings. Let’s not write it off because some people are inexpert, or use it to hide behind when their training is poor. Personally I can’t abide it if someone uses the “paper weighted down with their pen” thing to show one item at a time from an overhead – it’s messy, distracting and, for me, irritating.

    by analogy…
    Mobile phones do not create loud-mouthed idiots on trains, they just let you know where they are sitting !!!

  8. No not old fashioned
    As most of the other contributors have noted – PP is only a tool. If you don’t know how to use it then stick to OHPs. But if you are going to use them, then learn to use them. Switch off between slides and use a presenter to frame the slides.
    Personally, I wouldn’t want to use OHP slides. For one thing they are expensive to produce and people are reluctant to change or modify their masterpieces. With PP you can even do changes on the day!
    Once again however, learn how to use the tool. Just because the software will let your slide appear from outerspace to the sound of the Ride of the Valkeries is no reason to do it. You are giving the presentation or training session – not your slide pack. Keep animations simple to build up a story and switch off when not required. (BTW pressing B or W during the presentation brings up the black or white screen – press the same key to return.)
    Having said all that, I would rather sit through a slick session using OHPs than a dire session using PP.

  9. Ah yes!
    You are so right!

    Having said all that, I would rather sit through a slick session using OHPs than a dire session using PP.

  10. Both have their place…
    Hi. I still use OHPs quite a lot but also use PP. Admittedly, I had to overcome my desire for too many flying windows and music.

    With technology, I love it but also recognise its downfalls and tend to be a little cautious especially being on both sides of the fence. As a Delegate – when PP does not work and the presenter has no OHPs – well, this leaves the Presenter feeling uncomfortable, unequipped and the delegates feel they have received less than expected because the materials were not available.

    As a Presenter – having tested the system before the event with everything working perfectly then, on the day, SOMETHING going wrong.

    We do teach Presentation Skills and PP, OHPs, Flipcharts are but one aspect of effective delivery so we generally have backups of PP slides in OHPs…!

    Marjorielyn Campbell
    Petra Training & Management Consultancy
    020 8521 8459 / [email protected]

  11. The best tools for the job
    Like some of the other respondents, I use a range of tools when training. This includes PowerPoint, OHPs and flip charts, when appropriate. I try to teach as much as possible through activites, exercises, experiential work, etc. (much of it based on accelerated learning methods), in order to reach learners who have different learning style preferences. The group’s energy and attention changes with every change in technique, so varying presentation methods helps to focus and keep learners’ attention.

    As far as I’m concerned, PowerPoint, OHPs and flips each have their uses and weaknesses, and I often use all three at different points in a training course. If I want to present a chunk of information in a professional-looking, corporate format, I may use PowerPoint (without fancy fade-ins, animations and noises, which make me grind my teeth as a learner!). I also prefer it if I want to use a ‘reveal’ technique (I, too, hate those sliding pieces of paper covering parts of OHPs).

    If I just want to display the occasional page, I will probably use OHPs for that (also, some designs are quite difficult to do on PowerPoint, but easier on OHPs). I also back up any PowerPoint presentation with OHPs in case of computer problems.

    Flips are great, as already mentioned, for displaying around the room, and also for allowing participants to interact with the ‘presentation’ by writing or stick post-its onto them. Flips can also be more flexible than the other two in the way you can use shapes, colour, layout, etc.

    In other words, for each part of a training session, I think about what I want to achieve, and then ask myself which technique does it most effectively.

  12. PP is a great tool
    I have used PP to create transparency for OHP, but have found it to be expensive and less flexible if I need to make changes on the slide. Besides OHP can obstruct the view on the screen since it is a bulky equipment.

    Since using my laptop to make PP presentation through a LCD projector, I have found it to be more professional if your slides are designed well. Blanking and switching off the presentation is a matter of learning how to do it.

    Like what others have said, trainers should use various methods to facilitate learning.

  13. Training Aids
    Training Aids are aids to the learning process of the participant, it has always been my philosophy that I would use that training aid that best helps the participants to get the message that I am sending, rather than what seems to be the fashion today of using the latest bells and lights show.
    Yes PP has its place, as does OHP, likewise the Whyteboard, Flip charts, and the good old fashioned chalkboard (Used tobe called a blackboard when I went to school)
    As the saying goes, “Different Strokes, for Different Folks.


  14. Why use OHP
    I can’t understand why anyone would use OHP instead of PowerPoint. PP is much more flexible and versatile – yes it does require some extra time in the design stage and YES you must avoid the temptation to use ‘cute’ for cute’s sake. But it looks soooooooo much better.

  15. Versatility and effect
    Nice to see so much comment on the choice between PP and OHP. I’ve used PP for interview presentations, internal briefings and local cascade training. I had never really used it for serious training (paid for by a customer)until recently. It took a bit of thought but we used PP to build interactive exercises, question and answer screens, reveal text teaching screens etc. This was with an older version of PP, the new XP version has proved even more flexible. I remeber producing OHPs by the hundred (and colouring in using adhesive film) when I first came into training in the early 80’s. I remeber using drawing programmes to produce OHPs and thinking “Wish I could do this live in class.” And now I can and do. Be brave and creative in achieving the objectives and getting the message over. It’s what we trainers do best.


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