guns don’t kill people; bulletpoints do

14 03 2009

The art of communication is being machine gunned by unintentional, well meaning people all over the world. We’ve all been there, sat in a meeting taking hit after hit after hit as the bullet(point)s fly like the tollbooth scene in The Godfather. I recently gave this presentation at a Training Day and saw the encouraging start of the spread of the “bulletpoint virus”. The presentation isn’t perfect and won’t give you a list of rules for change but is an encouragement to try and think and present differently.

There’s really no need for the mindless approach to presentations save the desire to conform, the regimented following of enslaving rules and the slow death of creativity. We all know what makes bad presentations; we have sat through them and we have all given them too. So we know by inference what makes a good presentation:

  1. a good story
  2. a good slide deck
  3. a good delivery

Try to figure out what information needs to be transferred and think; wouldn’t the complexities be better transmitted as a formal document whilst the idea, the concept or the meaning is communicated by what you say and how you say it? Use your imaginative and creativity and ask yourself how can I communicate that central fact in a way that is simple yet memorable?

What I’m asking for is to allow your own expressive self a chance to live through those composite parts. Throw off the shackles of ridiculous backgrounds, list after list after list after list of meaningless bulletpoints, horrendous animations and transitions, token images and complete lack of direction and replace it simply with a single idea, images that stimulate and relate, minimal number of words and infuse it all with your personality and your imagination. After all it is you people want to hear from. Then stand up there and share your knowledge, your insight and your creativity.

What’s the worst that could happen? People say they don’t like it? Then then at least have been awake and have an opinion. Maybe, just maybe, your enthusiasm will stimulate something and engage folk, maybe the virus will spread and the art of communication will start to flourish again.

Remember, guns don’t kill people; bulletpoints do!neo_bullets1




One response

14 03 2009

Animations are only pointless if unaccompanied by a cool sound effect. I like the screeching car. Try listening to that after the 24th bullet point has screeched across the screen. At that point, however, it may not be bulletpoints that kill people but the outstretched fists of the audience!

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