(I hate it, but if I wrote hate in the title someone would contact me and say ‘hate is such a strong word, do you really hate it? In these days of conflict isn’t there enough hate in the world?’ – and I’d hate having to type a polite response to that)
- Great PowerPoint skillz
- Awesome transitions
- Copious use of Smart Art
- Reading out bullet points to me. Sitting and reading them out to me. Soaking up my precious life
These are a few of my very least favourite things
I wrote yesterday about my first 100 days in role and one of the things I did was let my teams all know that I have reservations about PowerPoint being a default as a method of communication.
Because PowerPoint is all too often shallow thinking in corporate clothes.
Over the years it has become an accepted method of communication in many businesses. Indeed in more than one organisation I’ve heard the words ‘great deck’ as if we were viewing a particularly well appointed ocean liner together.
Here’s some stuff I dislike about it
- A long deck normally has less detail than a one page piece of writing
- A long deck will then, on average, give me less useful information than a one pager
- This means more questions that you have to make up the answers to – as you are giving me less information and I’m left less convinced you have thought this all through
- If you just write something for me then you don’t have to fuss about with format, transitions, sizing and ‘I don’t know why that box is like that, it wasn’t before’
- Nobody ever has to work out what keys to hit or what wires to connect or get IT involved when they just have to read a piece of paper
- Smart art does not equal smart thinking. Your idea fits in a series of arrows? That’s fantastic but the impression of internal logic is not the same as consistent internal logic
I’m sure it’s good for some things. I’m always happy for people to choose from a full range of tools to get the job done – but the job people use it for most often isn’t one it is good for
- Write a document. Circulate it beforehand. People read faster than you speak. The world saves time. Use your meeting to discuss and explore the ideas instead of just ‘presenting’. I found out Amazon do it this way – so you can even copy a sexy company and pretend that writing a one pager is a sexy new trend
- Tell me a story. Be brave enough to step away from the slides altogether
- Scan in your handwritten notes and send me them. Doodle some stuff
- Grab a whiteboard or flipchart and draw as we go
Do anything except waste my life and deaden my brain via PowerPoint. Bring your ideas to life by being better than the poor default of modern business. PowerPoint is just going through the motions. You are better than that.
And if your response to this is ‘my company loves those decks’ then try standing out by giving them something else to love. And remember
(the face in the middle. That’s the genuine one)