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Loosing sight of why we communicate

Elon Musk [on his priorities] as a CEO:

Spend less time on finance, spend less time in conference rooms, less time on PowerPoint and more time just trying to make your product as amazing as possible.

It’s easy to mistake Excel and PowerPoint as your job. It is not (for most of us). They are just tools that don’t replace the actual work of thinking the problem through. Of digging deep. Doing the work. Refining the product. And interacting with the customers.

I’ve seen my fair share of presentations that discuss customer personas while no-one has ever actually spoken to one of these customers. I’ve seen plenty of presentations that obsess over beautifully designed slides that carry no meaningful information. I’ve seen more than enough presentations that formalised processes that no one ever needed.

The thing is that a presentation can only ever tell a story about reality. It’s never reality itself. When we confuse the two, we’re headed for trouble. And lots of wasted time.

When presentations become the work, something’s wrong. Sure, invest the time to make your communication as clear as possible. If PowerPoint helps to do so, use PowerPoint. But never loose sight of why you communicate in the first place.

Interestingly, clarity in your thinking leads to clarity in your communication. This in turn leads to shorter presentations which frees the time to have actual conversations with actual customers.

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