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August 19, 2009

Comments

Richard J

The real distinguishing display of power involving PPT is not the giving/receiving one, but whether you have a hard copy presented in a flick book form, or if it is read off screen - senior management and important clients get flick books and the power to interrupt and request clarification; people chained to the auditing benches get a monotonous drone and a perfunctory 'any questions?' at the end.

john b

I have a theory you may be blaming Powerpoint for problems that it actually helps alleviate.

1) Unstructured meetings are the most appalling time-thieves and ego-contests of all
* Personal hobby-horses always get brought up and people seldom force the discussion to move on
* Everyone stops listening to the tedious drivel, so when a substantive point is made, it needs repeating
* Nobody takes minutes and no conclusions are drawn, so you have to do the same thing the next week

2) Presentations of all kinds tend to be unbearable, misleading or both
* Most people are mediocre writers and bad public speakers
* Most people don't think through what they're saying
* The few good writers and speakers find it easy to sway crowds into doing things that make no sense

3) Powerpoint forces the speaker to adopt a structure
* Slide headings naturally take the format of a conclusion
* Writing in bullets makes it harder for bad speakers to waffle and forces them to come to a point
* Writing in bullets makes it harder for good speakers to obfuscate matter through rhetorical skill

In conclusion, I think you're blaming Powerpoint for problems that it actually helps alleviate.

ejh

Ho ho very good

dsquared

As the documentary "Mad Men" shows us, before the invention of PowerPoint, office meetings used to be zesty affairs, full of sharply-dressed people making acerbic and witty remarks at each other, with frequent breaks for drinks and fistfights.

Richard J

Bar the fistfights, I understand that this is principle my firm's senior management meetings work on.

Cian O'Connor

Setting up powerpoint to display random images for the duration of your presentation works pretty well. Not sure why, but its probably the contrast with the usual bullet points.

I had a manager who used to bring two stop clocks into meetings. Each speaker took turns and had a maximum of 30 seconds; each subject had a maximum time of 5 minutes (say). They were pretty productive meetings, though in part that was because a lot of the important arguments had to happen outside the meetings.

Simultaneously the best manager I've ever had, and the laziest. Which may well be connected.

Tom

"The few good writers and speakers find it easy to sway crowds into doing things that make no sense"

Shh, you're giving away the secret of how I'm bringing down the system from within.

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