Failure of process or good starting point?

Viv tweeted this post by Tom Fishburne on Death by Powerpoint. Tom quotes Steve Jobs:

I hate the way people use slide presentations instead of thinking. People confront a problem by creating a presentation. I wanted them to engage to hash things out at the table, rather than show a bunch of slides. People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.

… and Dan Roam:

We think that thinking means stringing words together in a meaningful way. We think that talking is the best way to share an idea. We think that speaking well is the cornerstone of intelligence.

I think it’s easy to slip, unconsiciously, into rituals of engagement that aren’t actually engaging. Thus we do presentations that reduce or remove our presence and we organise meetings that avoid the problem they are meant to address.

It’s only when the ritual breaks down, and we experience the discomfort of being at a more ragged edge, that something new and interesting can happen. Yet so often, the signs of such a breakdown (eg someone becoming obstructive) are treated as a failure of the process, rather than something scary but interesting to engage with.

One thought on “Failure of process or good starting point?

  1. Matt Kinsella

    I think both these statements is true which is obviously your point but I have fallen asleep during a few PowerPoint presentations. I personally try to actively engage in a free flowing “talk” and conversations when I present anything. It is always important to stick to the key points and keep it engaging no matter how you present something.

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