5 Reasons Why PowerPoint Isn’t Ideal for Your Meetings

PowerPoint is a great app and makes beautiful presentations which are ideal for when you’re speaking at a conference or trying to showcase your offerings to a potential client.  But is it amazing for your meetings? No, and using it could be adding extra work for both you and your meeting participants. Despite being the most commonly used meeting presentation software, there are 5 significant flaws in the way PowerPoint functions in a meeting.

1. Agenda on First or Second Page

While it’s great that PowerPoint allows you to put your meeting agenda up on the screen for everyone to see, it’s stuck on the first or second page of your slides and everyone has forgotten what’s on it just a few minutes later. It’s too hard to go back to reference during the meeting and you can bet that someone, at some point during your meeting, is sitting there wondering how many more agenda items are left before the meeting ends.

2. No Making On-The-Fly Notes of Actions and Decisions

PowerPoint simply doesn’t have the capability to easily record actions and decisions during your meeting. In order to record anything during a meeting you have two options: to exit the PowerPoint presentation and type them somewhere or to write them out by hand. Typing them elsewhere can leave you looking less prepared and professional than you would like. Taking them by hand forces you to type them up later. Both options entail emailing them to your meeting participants, along with notes regarding the context, which hopefully you remember correctly, despite juggling several things at the same time in the meeting. That is a lot of extra work just to record the actions and decisions from the meeting in a way that makes them easy to reference.

3. Flexibility

PowerPoint was built for presentations, which are usually one way communication and follow a set flow going from slide to slide. This is fine in a presentation, but in a meeting, this set flow doesn’t leave much flexibility. You have little to no flexibility in terms of skipping around or having things prepared which you may or may not need to share, depending on how the meeting is going. Even in a meeting with an agenda you might need some flexibility. For example, team meetings and project meetings are generally not as rigid and predictable as the format of a PowerPoint dictates.

4. It’s Time-Consuming to Prepare

PowerPoint presentations can be beautiful but they can also take a lot of time to prepare. If you want content from files or links, you have to spend the time to get it all converted and cropped and aligned into a PowerPoint. The process is very time-intensive but you can’t just add the file or show an image. You have to think about using the right fonts, colors, etc and ensuring your images and text look just right.  Every step of this process takes time if you want it to look good, and if you don’t, you probably aren’t bothering with a PowerPoint.

[clickToTweet tweet=”No wonder preparing a meeting has been so frustrating. I’ve been using PowerPoint, which a presentation tool. Great software but used incorrectly. Here’s why.” quote=”PowerPoint is great for presentations, but not for conversations which is what a meeting should be. ” theme=”style3″]

5. Sharing Afterwards Is All or Nothing

With PowerPoint, you have the option of sharing the whole presentation or nothing at all. You can’t selectively send out the information most relevant to the point you’re referencing without deleting slides and saving this as a new file to send out. Instead, you get to send out a note along the lines of “As you can see from the notes on Slide 5…” which forces anyone you’re emailing to download the entire presentation, open up slide 5 and look at your notes. What a waste of time. And it’s worse if there was a decision reached in the meeting which is counter to part of your presentation. There is very little as awkward as several slides with notes of “ignore this” or “decided against this due to…” Sometimes you can take those slides out but sometimes doing so will mean revamping the whole slide deck, which is neither enjoyable nor a good use of your time.

PowerPoint is great for presentations, but are not quite perfect for conversations, which is what most meetings are. If you’ve prepared for and attended a number of meetings, you’ve likely struggled with some of the limitations of using PowerPoint to run a  meeting. Maybe it’s time to keep it just for presentations.



Thomas is a co-founder and CEO of Pinstriped. His career has spanned several industries and companies, from finance to digital marketing to start-ups. After thousands of hours wasted in unproductive meetings, he’s on a mission to change meeting culture. You can find him on Twitter.