Thursday, April 07, 2005

The curse of powerpoint

Before I start I should point out. I quite like my department. I rather like most of the people I work with. I think I'm very lucky in that the top bosses are two Very Bright People.

Right? That's out of the way now. Last week's annual departmental meeting was horrid. Mostly because my site's being shut down, and I'm still furiously depressed about it. The whole idea of an afternoon devoted to singing out praises when I felt like the biggest failure was agony.

But, on top of that, there were.... powerpoint presentations.

What happened? When did we stop speaking in public and instead start farting in pastel?

At what point did we stop telling people stories, and instead start reading out bullet points very slowly? It's been years since the Cat Sat On The Mat for me, so why is it still okay for people to mumble their way through like we're all reading-along-with-Tinkerbell?

The worst thing about powerpoint is that it, instead of encouraging thought, it actually prevents it. Just 'cos you've filled in five bullet points, doesn't mean you've got an argument. Just 'cos your pages flip over neatly, doesn't mean you've got a chain of thought.

It's a real shame - most of the presentations were by bright people doing important things. But, although I heard a lot, I learned little.

The lowpoint, though, was the brainstorming group work. Several of my table vanished "to make important calls" never to be heard of again. I lack the spine - which is a shame, as our challenge was to assess "Expanding throughput of external ideas". Exactly. Luckily, they handed out copies of "Hello" to make mood-boards with, so I was happy reading "Camilla: A History in Pictures".

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