PowerPointer in Chief?

Of the $330 Million dollars raised so far, both Presidential candidates have spent at least $109 on PowerPoint  —  and it shows. Both candidates* are practiced speakers (Politicians usually have some skill in that area) and both are campaigning for the highest job in the land. It seems that like any Chief Executive these days, you can’t get by without a little help from PowerPoint.  Romney’s campaign has just released a rebuttal of the Washington Post outsourcing story using what else? PowerPoint. So let’s take a little look at what the prospective PowerPointer in Chief is doing and grade his deck.

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Let’s start with what’s good about this presentation.

What’s the Point?  It’s clear and gets the message across. The Washington Post makes certain claims, the presentation disputes them. It brings in third parties to back that up. And lastly, it points out that the Obama campaign is now using the facts from the Washington Post article as the centerpiece of its campaign. [Grade: A]

The 8ft Rule? Can you see this from the back of the room? Try standing up from your computer screen and moving back 8ft. If the point of the slide screams out at you from there, you’ve passed. This one fails. Although I am going to let it off on a technicality. I doubt this slide was primarily intended for a room and an audience. In fact, it’s much more of a reading deck than a presentation deck. [Grade: B-]

Structure/ Path/ Flow? It’s a short and well-structured deck. Starting with the campaign brand logo, and each slide using the assertion-evidence model. The Meta-structure in the deck shows up nicely too.  (Those blue/grey rebuttal boxes that appear at the left of each statement). They clearly show you where you’re at and where you’re going. [Grade: A]

And now, the Bad and the Ugly…

Pictures/ Metaphor/ Interaction? Romney has carefully built on his corporate executive image. Yet he doesn’t do as well in likability ratings and maybe a little hard to pin down. Bland is the word for this. (I’m talking about the PowerPoint now, not the Candidate?) Aside from the Aquafresh campaign logo (which I like) this is a very sterile and non-offensive looking set of slides. It doesn’t extend Romney’s image**. In fact it adds and reinforces to the corporate, hard to know image he has. Arial on a white background subliminally suggests safe, corporate and I can’t be bothered all in one neat little package, rather like … well you get the picture. [Grade: D]

Words/ Phrasing/ Story? Romney (or more accurately Matt McDonald, ex McKinsey and political consultant, and author of the deck ) uses quotes from CEO’s, Presidents and the Korea Herald to back up his argument. Given Romney’s social circles and the some of my best friends own Nascar teams gaffe when trying to connect to the people, these sources, while concrete, don’t help his case. Maybe a call center supervisor would have been better. And what red-blooded American puts the credibility of the Korea Herald over the Washington post?

*This blog is about PowerPoint, Communicating and Presenting, and is primarily for executives. Since it’s very difficult to find examples of business executives in the public eye, I frequently turn to the next best thing – our public executives, AKA politicians. I try not to let my political biases show, though I will admit to having them.

**I believe that PowerPoint used well is part of a double act (see From Stephen Colbert – the best presentation tip you’ll ever have). If you aren’t funny, PowerPoint is funny. If you can’t remember the words, then PowerPoint can. If you are a little all over the map, then PowerPoint is the map.

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Gavin_Animated-GifGavin is a founding partner at fassforward Consulting Group. He blogs about PowerPoint, Presenting, Communication and Message Discipline at makeapowerfulpoint.com. You can follow him on twitter @powerfulpoint.

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One Comment

  1. frankrowley0808 | July 10, 2012 at 8:54 am

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