Bullet-thinking

I like this PowerPoint tip from Victor Lombardi, his observations on PPT-based presentations obviously come from field experience:

  1. During a presentation people are either listening to me speak or reading my slide, not both simultaneously, and
  2. a deck doesn't contain enough information to be meaningful on its own after the presentation.

In my former consultant life or my current corporate life I found that you basically cannot live without PowerPoint in way too many situations, even when it's the worst format to work with. Not that it is an absolutely bad application or format by itself, but too many people just expect that any presentation (and presenter) comes with a PPT that they can watch live and get as a printed hand-over or by email. Give them a well-written, comprehensive document organized by audience (exec summary plus the real beef) and they will look exhausted in advance. Those people suffer from the "bullet-thinking" syndrome.

They cannot think and elaborate about something that is not summarized in a few bullet-points on a slide. The thinking of both the presenter and the audience are constrained by the format and subsequent elaborations are in turn formalized in more bullet-points. Bullet-point thinking is a vicious circle, so widespread within corporations that one should not wonder why they tend to lack vision nowadays. And I will spare you a few best practices, such as how to fit 50 bullet points on the same slide (table-based layouts are not a web design exclusive faute de goût).

If PPT is a necessary evil in your own business life, do not miss Understanding PowerPoint from Dan Brown and if you ever lack inspiration be sure to check Click To Add Title.

Now could just someone explain to the clueless padawan why this fuzz about viewing PPT documents on a mobile phone? Bullet-thinking whores, try SMS.

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