I was surprised to see how long it has been since I posted last. Three trips in a few weeks will do that to you – and since they involved traveling coast to coast to do presentations at three major conferences, I have been preoccupied with getting there, being there, and catching up in between.
What happened? While these are governing bodies, the majority of their time was taken up with presentations from a national level like my own rather than decision making. And all of them relied heavily on Microsoft’s ubiquitous product. One of the things that amuses me is that these offerings are always called “Power Point Presentations” or even “Power Points” – never just “presentations”. They actually assume that the viewers are illiterate because a presenter virtually always reads the entire contents of each slide. Let’s imagine the same thing happening with documents or spreadsheets. The new scenario is “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am now going to proceed to read aloud to you an entire Word document of 20 pages which you already have on the screen in front of you”. Or even better, “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I am now going to read aloud an Excel spreadsheet,line by line, which you can also follow along on the screen”. Still awake?
Another thing was curious. About 100 people flew or drove to Cochrane, – a northern Ontario town with a population of 5,200 people in Northern Ontario – home of the Polar Bear Museum and some wonderful conference volunteers. The first morning watched an hour long video and viewed the talking heads of several people – nearly all of whom were already in the room. This was supposed to be background on some of the issues to be addressed. But if it were background, why didn’t it get sent out to watch in advance on You Tube? The conference planners were adamant that this was to be a green conference where they would not send any printed documentation and instead they put everything on the website. But just about everyone present had printed it out themselves. Great cost savings but poor end results. We’re still in our infancy in thinking through the use of technology.