Have you ever eaten salad with a spork? Or tried to change the face plate on an electrical socket with the screwdriver from a Swiss army knife? Either tool will get the job done, but not without frustration.
A certain company I used to work for seemed to have a workforce composed entirely of people content to eat with a spork. Regardless of the nature of the task, each and every deliverable was composed, edited, and presented in Powerpoint.
For example, one colleague wrote the functional specifications for a software program we were developing entirely in Powerpoint. Word would have been much cleaner and easier to use, but I don’t think she even knew it was installed on her system.
Complex financial summaries were also delivered in Powerpoint. Nevermind that all the calculations were done in Excel. It was too much to ask executives to look at a spreadsheet. One exclaimed “my eyes!” when someone opened Excel during a meeting. So we had to copy the tables out of Excel and paste them onto Powerpoint slides. I’m not sure what the difference was, but the execs seemed to like it better.
My favorite example, though, is the time I prepared a year-end summary of my department for another (executive-level) manager in my group. I wrote the bulleted summary in Word. I then copied and pasted—with no alteration whatsoever—the Word document into Powerpoint. I sent both files to the other manager for him to review.
He responded “I really liked the Powerpoint summary. That was a useful, easily-understood summary and will help us with resource planning. I didn’t like the Word version nearly as well though. I wouldn’t use that one with [VP of our group].”
“They were exactly the same.” I told him. “I just copied and pasted the text from Word into Powerpoint.”
“Well I didn’t like that version as well. The Powerpoint presentation was much more concise.”