Wednesday 18 October 2017

Making a point without slides

THE Punt tends to spend a lot of time listening to the great and the good of business making speeches.

Whether it's some conference or other, or a product launch, we've lost count of the number of times we are in a packed room listening to wannabe JFKs standing at a podium.

The bad speeches, which are many, often have a common denominator: PowerPoint.

"Death by PowerPoint" has become a catchphrase for good reason. Nothing makes the heart sink more than someone taking to the stage, and then checking to see their PowerPoint presentation is working. Slide after slide of catchphrases and buzzwords are enough to kill any audience stone dead.

It was with surprise and relief then, that we watched Google's Kathryn O'Donoghue dispense with the slides, and give a superb speech yesterday.

Addressing a lunch to mark "Ireland's Most Powerful Women", Ms O'Donoghue spoke eloquently about managing the "millennial" generation and how their working expectations are so much different to previous generations (one example: they want lots of feedback, but only if it's positive).

Given Ms O'Donoghue's day job with the technology giant, it was something of a surprise to see her not use any gizmos during her address, but instead rely on her voice, stagecraft, and just the right amount of humour.

If only more people realised that you don't need a laser pointer in your hand and a laptop in front of you to get your point across.

Irish Independent

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