a few years ago i changed the way i use powerpoint during messages. the reason for this was twofold: 1) watching ted talks presentations and being amazed by how good they are, and 2) beginning to read gary reynold’s blog presentation zen. both of these sources taught me that i had been using my powerpoint slides as a crutch for my speaking and rather than helping me spread the message of the gospel they were detracting from it. these speakers taught me that presentation slides can be very helpful when they are simple and visual. most of the people in any venue can read the information on your slides faster than you can speak it so if your powerpoint has a ton of bullet points on it and most of your information you might as well sit down and shut up because the audience can simply read the information for themselves. reynolds suggests only putting up visuals that will reinforce what you are saying. words, quotes, pictures, images, etc. are great things to help make your message stronger.
the speakers at ted talks are some of the best examples of this. these speakers not only typically have fascinating ideas (fascinating even when i disagree with their conclusions) they also almost always do a remarkable job of presenting those ideas. that is part of the shame of many churches – we claim to have the most important message in the world and then do an absolutely lousy job of presenting that message.
anyhow these two sources caused me i swap to a much more visual style of preaching a few years ago. i prefer it and i think those that are a part of tapestry do to. if you would like an example here is my powerpoint presentation for this past week’s message. simple, visual stuff.
today i ran across a post that gary reynolds wrote a few weeks ago. it is comparing the star wars death star attack meeting from the movie with the way it might be done now. it is a great way of making the point that simple slides are much more effective. who knows what would have happened if the movie’s meeting had involved the above powerpoint slide. the star wars universe could have been destroyed because all the pilots would have been too bored to remember what to shot and luke might not have used the force. 🙂