I’m looking at you, PowerPoint!


Sometimes I feel that there are only two things people picked up from their MBA programs. Making 2x2s, and making presentations.

In the real world, of course, everything is not biaxial. There are some things that you can put into a 2×2, and then there are others that you can’t. Smart people know when then need to move from 2x2s to simple binary choices. Either you get it, or you don’t! 😉

But for today’s post, I’m looking at you, PowerPoint! PowerPoint presentations have become all the rage at the modern workplace. It’s a skill that takes time to master, but no time to fake. Most people fake it. Death by PowerPoint is the weapon of choice for the white collar crowd. Ask my friend, Dilbert!

Last week, there was a famous case of a US Army Colonel who was pulled up for airing his view on “Management by PowerPoint”. Tell me how your workplace differs from the US Army when it comes to the “battle rhythm” described below: (Article called “PowerPoints R’Us” here).

Each day is guided by the “battle rhythm,” which is a series of PowerPoint briefings and meetings with PowerPoint presentations. It doesn’t matter how inane or useless the briefing or meeting might be. Once it is part of the battle rhythm, it has the persistence of carbon 14.

And you can’t skip these events because they take roll — just like gym class.

The start and culmination of each day is the commander’s update assessment. Please ignore the fact that “update assessment” is redundant. Simply saying commander’s update doesn’t provide the possibility of creating a three-letter acronym. It also doesn’t matter that the commander never attends the CUA.

The CUA consists of a series of PowerPoint slides describing the events of the previous 12 hours. Briefers explain each slide by reading from a written statement in a tone not unlike that of a congressman caught in a tryst with an escort. The CUA slides only change when a new commander arrives or the war ends.

I want to see that note in presentation format in next class.

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About Gaurav Rastogi
Gaurav Rastogi is a writer and a business-exec living in the San Francisco bay area. His other blog is a personal philosophy blog at http://rustus.blogspot.com

One Response to I’m looking at you, PowerPoint!

  1. amtgrg says:

    Also check out this article in Slate.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2253050/pagenum/all/#p2

    Blame the user, not the tool!

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