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A new survey shows that 77 percent of salespeople rely on PowerPoint for their in-person presentations, while only 6 percent use whiteboarding. The whiteboard vs PowerPoint disparity jumps even higher in remote sales situations, where slides are used more than 83 percent of the time while using a digital whiteboard or annotation of any type drops to below 4 percent.

Five years ago, we did a breakthrough study with Dr. Zakary Tormala of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, comparing whiteboard-style visuals to the traditional PowerPoint visuals of stock photography and bullet points. We also compared more Zen-style presentations based on metaphorical imagery and a few words.

In the study, over 700 participants were divided into three groups. We presented each group with the same story and voiceover, but the visuals used to depict the story changed.

The result? Those who viewed the whiteboard-style story remembered 14 percent more than those who watched a traditional PowerPoint.

In addition, the whiteboard approach scored on average 10% higher in terms of perceived uniqueness, interest, credibility, and trustworthiness of the speaker. Remember, it was the same story and voiceover in all three cases.

Most importantly, whiteboard visuals handily defeated both types of slide presentations in actionable areas such as “willingness to share with others” and “intent to change” based on what they saw and heard.

You’d think such dramatic results in favor of whiteboards would drive sellers to pick up their markers and put down their clickers, right? After all, aren’t sellers always looking for an edge—to be different, memorable, and more convincing than their competitors?

Apparently not.

Learn more about the research backing the use of whiteboarding over PowerPoint presentations in this blog post from my friends at Corporate Visions.

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