Stuck on transmit

John Porcaro comments on the deadening effect of overpreparation. An otherwise engaging offsite goes off the boil:

One of the folks on our team came completely prepared with a three or four page document with an outline of challenges, strategies, tactics, and plans. She clearly had done her homework, prepared for the topic, and had done some great thinking.

So how did we react? By turning off our brains. I did it too. Most of the day, we brought up topics, used a flip chart, asked questions, and nearly everyone was involved. But it stopped cold when everyone’s attention turned to a formal presentation.

Spot on. It is so easy in organisations to squeeze out spontaneity in the name of order, and in so doing kill the whole point of having humans in a room instead of a rack of computers. In fact, I think this whole notion of controlled presentation is at the heart of much rotten marketing. The spirit of “death by powerpoint” is really behind most marketing, however charmingly contrived: an attempt to persuade an audience rather than engage them. As the RAF used to say of pilots who’d forgotten to let go of the little button you press to talk to air traffic control (you don’t hear back if you don’t let go of the button): stuck on transmit.

1 thought on “Stuck on transmit

  1. Robert Paterson

    Hi John

    I have given up on PPT for all the reasons you give. I try and find a way of asking the kind of questions early in the meeting that allows the others to do most of the talking as i have also found that only when you have talked can you listen. The side benefit is that the right question often enables the group to sell the idea to themselves.

    If I have to use a diagram I draw it freehand on a wall – even if it is illegible, the listen/viewer can follow the unfolding of the idea rather than be presented with it complete.

    I do find ppt useful for myself – it helps me talk to myself in a compact form


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