Beyond The Bullets

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been busy and various other pseudo-legitimate excuses, but something happened at a meeting recently that caused me enough pause to actually carve out time for a quick blog post.

I was discussing some trends from recent meetings when a participant began venting his frustration with a few of the bullets in one of my past presentations. I made a genuine attempt to explain that I don’t just read the bullets on the screen and go away. Rather, I provide context and backstory to each bullet while presenting. I gave him the context and backstory to the bullets of his concern but that didn’t seem to satisfy his frustration. Which is ok. I know I can’t please everyone. I’m certainly open to constructive criticism (as anyone who knows me from my WECC CIP Audits and Investigations days can attest).The fact that someone was frustrated with me and my content wasn’t the issue that spurred me.

The rub is that people actually think a PowerPoint presentation stands alone by itself. It doesn’t. Bullets are (or should be) used to cue the presenter’s thought process to provide valuable descriptive elements surrounding the bumper-sticker-bulletized blurb on the screen. You might get a fraction of the intended substance from the bullets in the slide deck but, assuming the presenter is worth a dime, then the presentation itself – given by the presenter – is where the real value resides. Whether webcast or in-person, the presenter should make an attempt to go beyond the bullets.

If you read something in a presentation that sets you sideways – or if you read something that really resonates with you – take either emotion with a grain of salt. After all, you’re only getting part of the story. If you can’t make it to the presentation then consider emailing or even calling the presenter to get the complete and intended message.