Giles Turnbull – DEFRA
Giles Turnbull knows how to write. More unusually, he knows how to write about writing. More unusually still, he knows how to write about writing in the context of a wider approach to communications. Most unusually of all, knowing all those things, he shares his knowledge in a way which is itself a great illustration of his own advice.
This is presented as advice to people involved in communicating the work of agile teams, but it’s application is much broader. There will be few who won’t find something useful in it.
Strategic thinking is best done by thinking out loud, on your blog, over a long period of time.
As someone clocking in with over a thousand blog posts of various shapes and sizes since 2005, that feels like a box well and truly ticked. Whether that makes up something which might be called strategic thinking is a rather different question – but that may be because all those blog posts have not yet generated a single sticker.
There’s an important point being made here. Even in a more traditional approach to strategy development, the final document is never the thing which carries the real value: it’s the process of development, and the engagement and debate that that entails which makes the difference. The test of a good strategy is that it helps solve problems, so as the problems change, so should the strategy. Whether that makes blog posts and stickers a sufficient approach to strategy development is a slightly different question. There might be a blog post in that.
Continuing the down to earth practicality which is its hallmark, this Doing Presentations post offers lots of good advice for people who are far from sure that they ever wanted to be doing a presentation in the first place – all of it equally good advice for the less reluctant.
Ella Fitzsimmons – Doing Presentations
Governments are run by civil servants. Civil servants are bureaucrats. Bureaucrats like meetings. Meetings have very high costs but deliver very little value. So if there were fewer meetings, government would work better, and perhaps more people who are not bureaucrats would find it more congenial to work in government. And if there were no meetings at all, perhaps everything would work perfectly.
Or perhaps meetings survive because they have purpose and value. Perhaps we should focus on having better meetings, perhaps even fewer meetings. But to miss the value of meetings is to miss something really quite important.
Johnathan Nightingale – the co-pour
This is a great post on two entirely different levels. It’s a reading (and listening and watching) list of material on the future of work, with a dozen or so interesting annotated links to follow.
But it’s also an approach to improving the quality of conversations, creating the space to think differently and more creatively, using the shared material to support a richer conversation, based on the insight that “a library of inspiration develops through a lifetime of experiences”. That’s an approach which it feels well worth borrowing – whether on the future of work or any other subject.
You can’t read yourself into being a good presenter, but if you could, this might be a good place to start. There are some useful references and the critical distinction is drawn between slides intended for projection to illustrate and support the spoken word and those intended to be “the McKinsey slide-deck thing with 50 data-packed slides”.
Tim Harford – The Undercover Economist
Most advice about presentations (and powerpoint) assumes you are standing between a large audience and a big screen, recounting a single narrative with a beginning middle and end. This post is about when you are having a conversation with a small group, when it’s faciliation as much as presentation.
Lots of good advice, including most critically, when powerpoint is just the wrong medium. Now where’s the overhead projector and a chinagraph pencil when you really need them…?
A new compendium of clear and simple guidance on doing presentations well. Very much within the GDS philosophy of a small number of big words, where slides and presenter are interdependent – not suprisingly since the people behind the site helped form that philosophy.