Many of you have probably heard the tongue-in-cheek phrase, “Death by PowerPoint”. It’s even more likely that you have had to endure a brutally boring and unproductive presentation session more than once. It turns out that there are parts of the government and private industry working to avoid wasting precious cycles with such presentations for more successful outcomes. Rather than following age-old tradition in running meetings dependent on standard ‘slideware’, these organizations are turning to interactive data visualization tools to better facilitate discussions and group explorations.
On the surface, a recent New York Times article titled, “We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint ”, drives forth a very negative opinion of PowerPoint. It discusses the pitfalls that some in the U.S. military have found in using the technology and why they in turn have eschewed its use. However, one should not necessarily blame the software itself but more so understand when and how it should be used. Reading deeper, what this article reveals is that individuals need to reexamine why and what type of meetings are taking place and then work to provide the best possible environment of information sharing to foster those goals.
There are some very effective speakers that utilize PowerPoint and similar presentation tools. Steering clear of trite content and obvious bullet points is just a start. Providing informative displays, and using the medium to complement one’s speech versus as a mere speaking crutch, are yet additional positive steps. But metaphorically, should a football coach use prebuilt PowerPoint slides to discuss new plays with his team at halftime, or would another, more flexible, platform be more ideal? With this thought in mind, presenters should consider presentation slides, even those that utilize rich media, as but one of many tools at their disposal as they build their agendas.
Organizations running operational and agile work sessions may find other analytical software now available to be better suited, or at least should be added to the roster. By providing richer displays of information that can pull upon core data, deeper examinations and educational activities can be run with a group in real-time, fostering greater audience engagement and insightful Q&A sessions that benefit all parties involved. While some teams may have found it a bit difficult to use statistical and business intelligence software for such purposes in the past, user interfaces and presentation capabilities have improved to make some of these tools more viable for use in dynamic meeting settings and by various skill sets.
To find out more on how enterprises are using data visualization techniques to foster more agile and interactive meetings, and drive business innovation, read the following white paper by CITO Research sponsored by Tibco Spotfire: Minority Reports: How Data Visualization Promises to Make Business Meetings More Dynamic
Spotfire Blogging Team
Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art