Thursday, January 24, 2008

An Open Letter to Garr Reynolds

To: Garr Reynolds (
From: Consultant Ninja
Subject: Your New Book

For every presentation by Steve Jobs...
.... there are 100,000 presentations in corporate America.

Dear Garr-

I just finished reading your new book, Presentation Zen, as part of a long-term interest of mine in reading books about presentation design. You make some great points and it's an easy read. It's too bad that it's totally inapplicable to me and to most people in corporate America.

You see, I work for a management consulting firm. There are three differences in this work that are very distinct from your book's discourse.

First, we are hired to do analysis beyond the client's capabilities. That means data analysis on a level far deeper than sorted bar charts that you print in your book. Of course we are telling stories, but we are backing the story up with insightful data analysis. We would never, ever use stock images - the client isn't paying us for pictures, they're paying us for analysis. Second, the presentation method 90% of the time is sitting at a desk with 1-5 people and going through our analysis and insights in detail. Finally, our slide design is dictated by my firm; using my own slide design is not an option. In corporate America the latter two issues are very much barriers to your readers implementing your ideas.

Unfortunately, for these reasons, enlightened readers in consulting or in corporate America by and large can never implement your ideas.

For your next book, I would suggest two topics to cover. First, write about how a small group discussion with printed slides and analysis-heavy work should think about presentations. Then, target the people who define slide templates for companies. If you could drive those topics then you would really be on your way to changing the world.

Again, interesting book.

Consultant Ninja

1 comment:

A. B. said...

As a consultant, I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, January 24, 2008