A political party in Switzerland is seeking to ban Microsoft PowerPoint presentations in meetings. The Anti-PowerPoint Party (APPP), founded in May by Matthias Poehm, claims that wasted time from sitting through PowerPoint presentations costs the Swiss economy $2.5 billion per year. The party estimates Europe-wide costs to be $160 billion.
In Switzerland, 100,000 signatures is enough to trigger a referendum on almost any issue. The 245-member (and growing!) APPP is currently rounding up signatures for a referendum on PowerPoint presentations. Poehm, who founded the party to promote his new book, The PowerPoint Fallacy, urges public speakers to use flipcharts instead.
Poehm deserves credit for being a creative promoter. And I share many of his sentiments about PowerPoint. But PowerPoint policies are best set by individuals, not binding referenda. His book, now available in several languages, will hopefully persuade many individuals to spare their colleagues some tedium. But politicizing the issue, humorous though it is, might not be the best way to improve the quality of public speaking in Switzerland.