Death by PowerPoint

This PowerPoint slide made the front page of the New York Times today. Upon seeing the slide at a briefing, General McChrystal is alleged to have said, “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” I don’t believe he meant to say that understanding the slide was required to win the war.

As a professional speaker I am keenly aware of what people try to communicate unsuccessfully with PowerPoint, as well as the mis-communication which can occur with PowerPoint. Probably the most infamous of which is the PowerPoint slide that mis-communicated the potential problems with O-rings on the Space Shuttle.

This all reminds me of a quote I heard many years ago: “The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it actually occurred.”


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