Skip to main content

Presentations and Meetings: Everyone has an opinion

I've been following Marketing guru, Seth Godin's blog of late. A couple of days ago he opined on powerpoint presentations, or to be more accurate a really bad slide a particular CEO used. I couldn't help remembering that I actually used a similar one while pitching e-Immunization at a VC workshop once, and got very similar criticism there from Guy Kawasaki. Now, b-school and a summer spent in consulting has meant that I've had ample opportunity to think about presentation and power points in particular.

I agree with Mr. Godin's basic premise: that the main goal at the end of the day is communicating your message effectively and so making an "emotional" connection in a presentation is a great, great idea, but not all products/ideas/situations allow that. For example, he proposes a style where you use pictures etc. to re-enforce your message, rather than detract from it. Jobs, I think does a great job of this, but then he always has great material to work with. :) I've seen presenters try this "use pictures to make point" approach, and they've been absolute train wrecks.

What makes Godin's suggestion reasonable to me though is that he suggests giving people a different document to take away. The problem I think is that Powerpoint slides have become all things to all people: Presenters use them to present ideas/products to audiences; consultants use them to detail strategies to clients; everyone uses it as a summary of the lecture they're giing; I've even seen it used to do project planning. A format/style that works for one purpose however, is obviosly unsuitable for another. While using the same tool for everything (which is fine), people using the same formatting isn't, and people do.

I do like Godin's summary about ideas to make meetings more productive though.


Popular posts from this blog

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.

Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)

It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)

Everyone's struggle is real... at the very least to them

A couple of weeks ago, while in line waiting to pick up some food I'd just ordered, I overheard two conversations - I don't make a habit of this, but it's hard to not hear things when you leave your phone behind. :-/
My first reactions as I heard both of these conversations was annoyance at the protagonist in one and admiration for the other. Both conversations stayed with me for a while, but it took me some time to realize that was unfair on my part to be annoyed at the person that I was annoyed at.

So about these conversations:
The first was between someone working there and a friend. She was sympathizing with her friend who'd be starting a new job leaving this place. "Oh, it's minimum wage again?", she said with concern in her voice. "Yes, but it's fine", said her friend. The job was closer to where she lived so she thought she'd make about the same and she might get home a little earlier to her daughter some evenings though the hours…