Using PowerPoint for a Speech: Pros & Cons

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  • 0:50 Advantages
  • 2:28 Disadvantages
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

It seems like every class or speech has PowerPoint slides with it these days. But is that always the right answer? In this lesson, we'll examine the pros and cons of using slideware, like PowerPoint, during your speech or presentation.


Joanie is preparing a speech for her team at work about how sales have been recently and all the things that they should do in the future to improve sales even more. She knows that visual aids are very important to a speech because they help the audience understand and remember information better.

Joanie thinks that she might use PowerPoint in her speech, which is a type of slideware, or software where a series of slides displays images or information. As Joanie gives her speech, she can move from one slide to the next, and each slide will offer a visual supplement to what she's saying.

But Joanie has heard that there are some problems with slideware like PowerPoint. She's worried that perhaps she shouldn't use it. Let's help Joanie figure out what to do by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of PowerPoint and other slideware programs.


Joanie thinks she might want to use PowerPoint in her speech about sales. She knows that there are several key advantages to using slideware, like PowerPoint, in a speech. For one thing, PowerPoint can keep the speaker on track. As she moves through her slides, Joanie will be able to make the most important points and will not go on any tangents. Since Joanie has a tendency to ramble when she's nervous, it's a good thing that PowerPoint will help keep her from going off topic.

Another advantage of PowerPoint is that it reinforces information being spoken, which leads to better retention. As Joanie already knows, when people can see images or information that goes along with what she's saying, they will understand and remember the information better. This is because dual channels of information, like visual and auditory information presented together, have been shown to enhance retention and understanding.

In addition, some people learn better when they can see information than when they hear it. Having PowerPoint slides to accompany her speech will help these so-called 'visual learners' remember the information.

Of course, Joanie could reach visual learners and hit dual channels of information with any visual aid. For example, she could make a poster and put it up on the wall behind her. But PowerPoint has an advantage over that: it is highly visible to all audience members. If Joanie is presenting to a lot of people in a very large room, they might not all be able to see the poster. But the projection of a PowerPoint presentation is usually much larger than a poster, and therefore, even people in the back of the room will be able to see it.


Based on those advantages, Joanie is thinking that PowerPoint is the way to go! In fact, she thinks that everyone who ever does a presentation or speech should use PowerPoint! But she's heard that there are disadvantages, too and wonders if there are other things she should consider before committing to using PowerPoint in her speech.

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