Business Presentations – the horror.

If you have been in business a PowerPoint is not just the likely tool of choice to communicate material in group setting, but apparently the unwritten  never broken rule.

I mean it, when was the last time you sat in a room to listen to someone tell you something and PowerPoint was not used – heck even most Ted talks use it.  The feeling I get is that if you pulled out a flipchart or just showed pictures of what you were talking about without one slide (at-least an intro one) the world might come to an end.     end of world







So, this got me thinking.  If something is being used so broadly it should be a good thing, right.  You know like unleaded fuel or pasteurized milk.  So is PowerPoint (or whatever you use) good,

ah No.    NO



I am not the only one who thinks so –

Edward Tufte – Wired

David Silverman – Harvard Business Review

First, start with a story.  You know like when you were little.  Tell it with a story.

Then, one thought per slide should equal – you know like – one word, a picture instead would be nice.

Think more like Eve from Wall-e    Eve from Wall-ein communicating versus Tolstoy – I am talking to you IBM.

Ask yourself this – if the bulb burns out on the projector, your laptop catches on fire, your backup USB drive becomes forgetful and your paper copy backup, backup, backups all become stuck together.

Could you delivery your

  • persuasive proposal
  • arousing argument
  • instruction
  • decision making points

in 60 seconds verbally with say a couple of simple words/drawings on a whiteboard?  60sec






10 minutesin 10 minutes with several words/drawings on a whiteboard?



One of the most memorable training presentations I have attended was on the dangers of straining your back.  The presenter used nothing more than a onion and some grape jelly with a couple of drawings on a whiteboard.onionTo simulate a disk in your back, slowly slicing one ring at a time to demostrate what happens each time you strain your back by lifting/twisting improperly.  That was 22 years ago.  disk




Now the can be done well, as this presentation about evil PowerPoint by John Goalby.

and these tips by Geoffrey James.  He has tell a story as #3, I would disagree, make it #1.

So, please, pleasssssseeee be kind to your audience and make your presentations, if not memorable, at least information that can be remembered.


Data hoarding a reality show coming soon

“Well, right now we are collecting all the data from our ERP, Ecommerce, CRM and next social media.  We will get to using a analytics tools eventually.”

banging head

Yes, this is a quote from a real business. For more than 10 years real analytic capability has  been available for businesses to use to get greater insights, improve decision making and in general grow faster and reduce risk.

         Yet we are still seeing less than 15% of companies in the word using                                  analytics as a  competitive advantage, 34% still using spreadsheets and 65% have a analytics tool  (somewhere) they use for  (some) reporting.  So, what is the response of business  when the  hype of BIG DATA appears

The response is to hoard data.


Currently, the business quoted above is using this much data   to make decisions that directly affect the success or failure of their business.

rain drop

Their vision is by hoarding the data they will someday be using this much data to make decisions creating an ocean of data.l



lIn reality, they go from the rain drop to

kiddie pool


Big data is not keeping years of your existing transactional data.  Wiki is pretty good with their explanation.

But this data hoarding – do you know they have an international society about this problem – is a business reaction to not being left behind on big data or analytics.  The company above is not alone.  From the IT department’s perspective, okay we can do that, we will need more storage either local or cloud based, but let’s add space for that data.  But, IT should recognize the problem here.

Data hoarding is not beneficial to the business in any way.  It is an enabling behavior that provides a level of comfort that ‘we will get to it’ but does nothing.  If you are doing nothing with your data but piling it up on storage arrays you are hurting your company.

Why you ask?

The larger the ‘pile’ of data the bigger the task of converting it to actionable data becomes both from the IT and business perspective.  Human nature is human nature.  We will rationalize the procrastination by using other priorities, the size of the effort needed and so forth.

puking data

Like losing weight you need to work on your hoarding data pile one insight at a time.  You may need 50, 100, 200 insights you need to start with one (1).  Might not be the most important, but make it highly actionable and most importantly from data that is readily available.

One insight (one pound), then another and another and another.  Very shortly you will have gained (vs. lost) 50 insights from your pile of data.  Turning a pile of data (fat, if you will) into actionable insights (energy).

Start small.                                                                                                                          .        

start small

 Build from there.                                                                                           .                    

It will happen.                                                      .

Good luck.                         .