Sunday, January 07, 2007

PowerPoint to Poster Boards

I am in the midst of setting up a management review meeting. Rather than parade by a string of project leaders to present the same stale reports, I asked each team to present a poster. I gave each leader one of those tri-fold poster boards that many of our kids use in school and no rules about how to put it together. I frankly expected most teams to paste a PowerPoint presentation onto their board and be done with it. Our kids make these things; you would think it would be easy.

In past reviews, the leaders threw together a presentation the night before the meeting, pulling most of the material from pre-existing slide decks. Some spent time with their teams reviewing the presentation in advance of the meeting, but this was always pretty casual.

This time around, the teams are getting together to figure out the best way to use the poster boards. The new format caused the teams to rethink how to present their material. The teams have engaged more with what and how to communicate.

It is easy to become sloppy in putting together our ubiquitous PowerPoint presentations. Here is a reminder from the AYE Wiki reminding us not to lean hard on PowerPoint as the center of our approach to presenting. Next time you give a presentation, think a bit about what you want to present and what is the best way to communicate it. Don't default to PowerPoint. You might try forcing yourself to use a new medium as a tool to keeping you fresh.

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