“Powerpoint makes us stupid”

Onto my Facebook page this morning floated a pronouncement from the US Army

There was a time when essayists like  Johnson and Emerson would influence our thinking through the power of an intelligently turned phrase.

Somewhere along the line came the phrase “every picture tells a story”.

The business community woke up to the power of slides initially on acetate, latterly on Powerpoint.

Those on the “buy-side” of pensions may not be aware of the scale of the Powerpoint production industry.

I have come to dread business pitches not because of the pitches themselves but for the agony of creating and “compliance approving” a set of slides which  typically detracts rather than adds to what I am trying to say.

Accepted wisdom within the compliance community is that those presenting ideas cannot be trusted to do so without a “true and accurate record” of the conversation.

That record has become a set of slides that becomes so cluttered with detail that those trying to gauge the probity, intelligence and diligence of the organisation they are assessing, have little or no chance.

I have heard it said by trustees who have spent days conducting a beauty parade that they would have much preferred  banning slides and relying on the interraction between the people in the room.

Is there a case for demanding “no slides” from presenters?

Surely a much better test for those of us involved in the business of communicating complex ideas is to request slides be provided but only after the presentation!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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