We’ve all heard the phrase ‘death by PowerPoint’. We use it to describe the way we feel after suffering through a particularly painful presentation. But some people are asking if PowerPoint could be behind the mismanagement of the ignition-switch defects that GM is now saying are connected to 13 deaths. And a Wall Street Journal post asked whether Mary Barra’s next move as General Motors’ CEO might be to ban PowerPoint altogether.

Investigators of the GM case argue that vague language and cluttered slides made it easier for executives to get lost in irrelevant information, for managers to unthinkingly nod and not ask questions, and for engineers to not receive clear marching orders. The argument is if the information hadn’t been in PowerPoint, maybe executives would have taken more action.

But PowerPoint doesn’t mislead or obscure data; people mislead and obscure data. In fact, PowerPoint brings the most crucial facts to the forefront when presenters follow the principles of creating great presentations.

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