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Using PowerPoint To Facilitate, Not Just Present

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Is PowerPoint just for conventional speaker support? Let's answer with an emphatic no, and investigate how combining PowerPoint with Visual Basic for Applications can make it a platform for data acquisition and a conduit for sending information to other Office applications, such as Excel.

In my years as a PowerPoint trainer and consultant, I've seen the program accomplish many tasks, and most of them involve disseminating information to an audience.

But as I've had the privilege to work with organizations that stretch the envelope of corporate communication (such as the Neuroscience Education Institute of Carlsbad, California), I've seen how effective PowerPoint can be as a motivation or facilitation tool.

What is facilitation? Essentially, it's the process of not speaking at an audience, but getting them involved in exercises and tasks by which they can teach each other, and learn from a set of experiences. Particularly effective in this setting are the concepts of feedback, recognition, and reward. Facilitators I've seen have divided an audience into groups or teams, using competition as a way to get them energized, and also to measure the extent to which the message has been retained. It's amazing how a group of Type A CEOs or physicians can get revved up to win a T-shirt or coffee mug that says "First Place, Acme Widgets Conference 2004."

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