The problem started many years ago …..

Company executives started replacing reports with PowerPoint presentations (loaded with bullet points) over 15 years ago. The executives would speak at length on each bullet points. That was fine albeit half the audience would be in a coma.

The REAL problem came when the PowerPoint slides were passed on down to the lower level staff for implementation. There were no backup documentations. No detailed analysis. Nada. These lower level people never attended the executive meeting and never heard the presentation. All they had was a bunch of bullet points and that’s where everything started to go wrong: misunderstanding, misinterpretation, miscommunication, hallucination….etc.

Millions of dollars of mistakes have been made because of this problem.

4 responses to “The problem started many years ago …..

  1. I always like to refer to this quote:
    “The problem with communication is the illusion that is has occurred.”
    — George Bernard Shaw, Playwright
    to remind myself that communication is incredibly challenging. As Norman is implying people worry about WHAT to communicate but not enough effort is given to HOW to communicate it, especially as communication is an emergent two-way process… think of Kipling’s 1902 story called “The Elephant Song.” In it appeared the words: “I keep six honest serving men (they taught me all I knew); their names are what and why and when and how and where and who.” We need to think of the 2what, why, when, how, where and who2 when we design our material. Slides preparation is about half the total work at most, in my experience!

  2. I meant “what, why, when, how, where and who”

  3. This (mis)communication-by-Powerpoint can take place in both directions. Witness the infamous slides produced to illustrate the engineers’ findings on Columbia’s tile damage (

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s