Monday, October 5, 2009


Something wonderful happened today. We have daily morning briefings from our Joint Operations Center. At the end, we usually have presentations from the various sections of our UN mission. They ALWAYS include PowerPoint. And it often seems they spend as much time -- more even -- on silly effects than content. I had to ask recently that they at least do them in colors we can read from. Today, someone got up and apologized for not having PowerPoint and then proceeded to talk to us. In response, I actually paid attention to the speaker and his speaking. In so doing, I realized how much is lost when we eye the slides instead. I remembered how often I wished the speaker would just hurry up to keep up with my reading speed. This is not communication. Listening to a human being address me as a human being is communication. We convey so much more meaning face to face than can jump off a slide presentation. PowerPoint should really be banned or limited to those who treat it as one part of communication and not the communication itself. PowerPoint presentations are as ubiquitous as plastic cups and bags, littering and spoiling our human interaction as the plastic litters our environment.

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