My cousin, Sameer always likes to ask about book(s) I am reading when we talk. Probably he likes recommendations from someone he knows rather than anonymous reviews on Amazon and other book stores. Few weeks back when we were having a conversation, apart from other topics as expected he asked about books I was reading. I was reading an interesting book “How PowerPoint Makes You Stupid…” by Franck Frommer back then with one or two other books. After our conversation I sent him an email with links to the books I was reading. As I was writing the email to Sameer, various thoughts crossed my mind about subject of the book, the infamous PowerPoint slides.
Looking back at my fifteen or more years in small and big companies, I could not agree more with Franck’s observations about PowerPoint (or include Apple’s Keynote as well) usage and growing popularity of the same in the business world. It is true that in the business world PowerPoint usage is so ubiquitous that meeting without PowerPoint slides is almost unthinkable.
All these years I have created hundreds of PowerPoint presentations for business meetings. In recent years though I started realizing shortcoming’s of PowerPoint / bullet point thinking more and more. As much as I wanted to point fingers to practices followed in the business world, it dawned on me that I am also not doing anything different to break away from what it seems like a norm now. In the process it’s me who is now reduced to few good bullet points and that’s all. The thought was very very scary. Anyway I am trying different things in the business world in last 3-4 years and more so in life outside business world. Today I thought about sharing what I am doing in the business world to ensure my thoughts are not reduced to only few good bullet points.
I started creating a word document per project. Yes a word document which captures all my thoughts about what is that we are trying to do, who is target customer, competitive information, sales strategy, risks and mitigation’s, value proposition, and so on. All the elements of a typical business plan. I capture all this with one twist though. I do not use predefined standardized business plan template. I believe use of template leads to same mediocre thinking which comes with starting with PowerPoint slides. Goal of writing such document for me is to liberate from bullet point thinking. Express my thoughts more like a story instead a disciplined business document. Act of writing such document is helping me enormously. I am more prepared than ever on the subject and at the same time able to satisfy my creative needs. I will post things I am trying outside business world in some future post(s) till then “Happy Writing!!”