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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Perils of PowerPoint

I recently came across this article [PDF] detailing some research done on the effectiveness of PowerPoint in preaching. Naturally I was interested.

The listeners’ responses reveal that PowerPoint preaching
does not make a difference—the most transformative
sermons don’t include projected visuals, and PowerPoint
presentations are even viewed as a distraction by a majority
of commenting listeners.

Ooops, I guess it's time to give up . . . but wait, there's more!

The author boils the problem down to distractions:
1. Distracting Delivery
2. Distracting Content
3. Distracting Organization

Delivery that gets in the way of communication, gets in the way of transformation. If there are tech flubs that will hurt your sermon. If you use the presentation as a crutch, a handout, or a teleprompter, that puts distance between you and the audience.

Content that leans to far toward bullet points, and lots of text on the screen really gets in the way of communication. Tone it down. Let your words carry the content and let the screen convey emotions. You can't compete with the screen, so you have to make it your ally.

Organization of thoughts makes sermons easier to follow and understand. Unfortunately, PowerPoint doesn't do a good job of facilitating that. Make sure that you have communicated with your teammates and you are projecting slides that connect with what you're saying at that moment.

Give the article a full read for all the juicy details.

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