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Goal Setting And Death By Powerpoint

Goal Setting And Death By Powerpoint

Recently I read that the CEO of Westpac Bank was thinking of banning powerpoint presentations.

Frankly I think that is a fine idea. My personal opinion of them is that they are absolute garbage. People dread those meetings when projectors are rolled out and someone starts going through 57 powerpoint slides. After the first few, no information is absorbed by the poor victims. The only thing going through people’s minds is how many more slides are there to go?

In general, I find meetings a terrible waste of time. Of course there are many people in agreement with me, if the internet is any gauge of this.

And I love this litte snippet about meetings too. Apparently apart from the waste of time, they are a poor way to make decisions. There have actually been scientific studies showing that it is the “overconfident loudmouth” who gets their way, rather than the most knowledgeable person.

And of course, who could deny that – “A meeting moves at the speed of the slowest mind in the room”.

Anyway back to Powerpoint and the purpose of this post. The reason the head of Westpac is considering banning Powerpoint presentations is because he believed there were people in his organisation who believed it was their job to create Powerpoint slides rather than make improvements for their customers.

And there it is folks right there. The kernel of wisdom in this story. Why is it that these people run round creating Powerpoint slides rather than doing something more productive?

The answer, in my opinion, is that they lack clear goals to work towards. When people don’t have clearly defined goals, they tend to lose focus. Creating a powerpoint presentation then becomes something to do to fill in the hours they must be at work.

I subscribe to the Tim Ferriss school of thought when it comes to living the life you want. In the book he puts his formula for success as:

DEAL – Define, Eliminate, Automate, Liberate.

The defining part clearly is the goal setting. Once you have goals, the next step is to eliminate anything which does not help that goal be achieved. In this case, you have a situation where if you define your goals clearly, you may find that creating that Powerpoint presentation not necessary. So eliminate it.

As the swordsman Musashi said in “The Book of Five Rings”, “Do nothing that is of no use”. Once you have clear goals to work towards, what is of use and what is of no use becomes obvious.

Image Source: Tom Morris (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons

About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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