Ah, another Power Point presentation to an audience gazing in boredom at graphs or lists or the infamous bullet points leading to the end of thinking. General Stanley McChrystal, head of US troops in Afghanistan, has made it clear he is sick and tired of Power Point presentations. He was recently shown a Power Point which supposedly discussed military strategy, and his comment was, “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” There is a growing sense among military leaders that Power Point presentations waste time and resources. As Marine General James Mattis put it, “Power Point makes us stupid” while General H.R. McMaster, goes further, “it’s dangerous because it can create the illusion of understanding and the illusion of control.”
A growing number of officers believe the effort and time devoted to producing Power Points wastes resources and the only result is to stifle discussion, reduce critical thinking and interfere with thoughtful decision making. A running joke in the Pentagon is saying the word, “Power Point” and watch heads sigh in disgust at another one.