Before presentation software such as PowerPoint became almost ubiquitous, many presenters would give rambling, poorly focused presentations. Preparing 35 mm slides was often too costly and took too much time for internal presentations. So speakers wouldn't use visual aids and often "wing it" with little rehearsal. As a result, their presentations would be unfocused and disjointed. All this changed with PowerPoint and its competitors and the availability of projectors that take what's on a computer screen and project it onto a wall screen or the wall itself. Bullet point slides gave speakers a visual outline of their talk as their proceeded. This makes it much easier for them to give their presentations structure and focus.

Presentation also provides speakers and their organizations with a written document they can distribute to audience members or people unable to attend their presentation.

What else can oral presentation software do?

PowerPoint and similar software can also help you give other written documents more organization and focus. Hate to outline your reports and other documents you have to write? Instead of conventional outlining, you can use PowerPoint bullet point templates to organize your thoughts. You can use the main or leading bullet for an important subject or thought and subsidiary bullet points under the main point for supporting evidence and to explore the implications of your main bullet point. This is exactly what an outline does. However, many people find they prefer using PowerPoint or a similar program to do so rather than using a word processor to prepare an outline. Try it. You may find you prefer to use PowerPoint over conventional outlining as the first step in writing a lengthy report or other document.

PowerPoint instead of word processing

Indeed, you may even want to experiment with using PowerPoint to prepare an entire document for your firm's website rather than using a word processor at all. The bullet points of a PowerPoint document help eliminate excess verbiage that so turns off people reading document online. Inserting charts and diagrams can reduce the monotony of one bullet point slide after another.

After giving a well-received presentation to your managers, customers or at conferences, authors can post the presentation on their firm's website or intranet. This saves the author's time compared to preparing a text document in addition to the presentation. If your firm has a process requiring management and legal approval for documents printed or posted online, posting your PowerPoint presentation rather than a new document can streamline the approval process. Instead of having to approve two documents, they have only to approve the PowerPoint presentation.

Taking meeting notes

Being assigned to take meeting notes for all the attendees can be a pain. If their keyboarding skills are good, many recorders use a notebook computer rather than handwriting their notes. PowerPoint offers an alternative to word processors for this task. The bullet point structure enables the note-taker to spend less time keyboarding and more focusing on what is said. The final document, whether written using a word processor or PowerPoint, will probably be more concise.

If you can condense the most critical points made during the meeting to one or two PowerPoint slides, projecting these slides offer an excellent way to get everyone "on the same page" when beginning a follow-up meeting.

PowerPoint doesn't work best all the time

PowerPoint is often poor for explaining difficult concepts. Speakers have to rely heavily on their own verbal explanations. In this case, using a word processor is more effective in communicating these concepts and information.