CTOs Need to Think Visually

Loretta Prencipe

Call it the PPT Catch-22. Few people look forward to sitting through a PowerPoint presentation. Yet, 98 percent of our audiences (internal or external -- doesn't matter) come to a meeting expecting one.  And if you show up without the PowerPoint, you're starting the meeting with a blackmark: No PowerPoint = Unprepared.
A good PowerPoint (or any other presentation) comes down to two factors: compelling presenter and graphics. Scripted monotone will turn off almost every audience. Add boring bar charts, Venn diagrams and umbrellas with rain drops (thanks, McKinsey), and you might as well send them home early.
While you work on wowing them with prose, think about the killer visuals that convey your story. After all, while you're packing up, someone will invariably ask for a copy of your presentation. 

I've long noted that many CTOs are great story tellers and strong visual thinkers. Some have a real gift for leaning into the data and developing graphics that convey the data in a compelling and, even, entertaining manner. 
Sometimes Wired Contributor and Information is Beautiful blogger David McCandless is a lover of visual information. That's brought home in his recently published book "The Visual Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia."  Check out his visual index.
McCandless' book may reinvigorate your approach to delivering data.  At the very least, it would be a good visual read over the holidays.

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