Something in Common with Jeff Bezos: Conversations Over Presentations

If you are plugged into any one of the standard go-to business sources, you’ve likely come across conversations about Jeff Bezos’s 2018 Letter to Shareholders this past week. He has been publishing this letter every year since 1997, and in the same vein as Warren Buffett’s annual address, it’s become “must-read” material.

This year certainly delivers – it’s worth the 12-minute read.

There was one comment this year that resonated on a personal level with me.

We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon.”

When I left the world of working with Fortune 100 brands and started Syrup, I made myself a handful of promises — one of which was always number 1 or 2 on the list.

I promised myself I would never make another PowerPoint.

I’ve joked that in my previous work life it felt like you wouldn’t get paid if you didn’t meet your “PowerPoints created quota.”

Slides for clients

Slides for team meetings

Slides for new business pitches

Slides for new products

Slides for how-to’s

Slides for project plans

….

I replaced the “mighty” PowerPoint with the MIGHTY whiteboard marker. (I’m a loyalist to Expo.)

conversations over presentations

I’m not trying to hate too hard on PowerPoint; I just found that it was never as valuable as asking questions, listening, and unpacking solutions — and often a structured slideshow was a hindrance to those things.

I’ve also found time and time again the mighty Expo smokes a PowerPoint in the one area I believe to be the most important to ensuring a meaningful use of everyone’s time in a meeting: creating conversation.

 

PowerPoints are static.

Conversations are fluid.

 

PowerPoints present YOUR case.

Conversations are collaborative.

 

PowerPoints are orchestrated.

Conversations are flexible.

 

An Expo is the perfect tool to supplement a conversation. It’s fluid, flexible, and collaborative.

So next time you’re thinking about making a PowerPoint, consider conversation over presentation, and grab that good ol’ Expo – it’s never let me down.

Kraig Guffey