Global Collaboration, part 3: A picture tells more than ….

In 1994 I was working for Philips Consumer Electronics and the proud user of a personal computer. This was the early days of making presentations on the PC. Beamers did not exist, and if you wanted to make a presentation for the Overhead Projector you had to go to the special ‘Overhead Sheets Production Department’ (and generally you had to wait a couple of days before the slides were ready).




The program we used to make presentations was Harvard Business Graphics, and I have spend many days behind my PC working on presentations for the Board. Below a sample I could find in my archive, on ‘Fighting Spirit’ workshops we were developing. I left Philips before the workshops were executed, so I can only guess if the fighting spirit increased dramatically. My stars tried to illustrate the splash the workshops would results in.


Schermafbeelding 2013-07-27 om 13.19.43


I cannot remember when PowerPoint entered the corporate offices. According to Wikipedia it was launched already in 1990, but I must have started using PowerPoint in the late 90s. PowerPoint has been a fantastic tool, which helped a lot to improve global collaboration. PowerPoint (and comparable other programs of course), help us to tell a story in a simple way, with the use of pictures and graphics. Enormously powerful. Unfortunately PowerPoint also became the major tool of consultants around the world, and they have misused PowerPoint in such a way, that is has become very difficult to get back on the right track. Consultants are not cheap, and the thinking is that if the slide deck contains only few pages, with few words and a few powerful pictures, the perception of the client is that he does not get value for money. The result: large decks (these days produced overnight in India), very full pages with many many words and graphics pushed together, and a series of additional slides in the enclosures to justify all the work done.

Global collaboration will be enormously enhanced if we (everybody with a message to communicate) would be able to focus, and tell the story in a few simple words and with a few simple pictures. The saying is: a picture tells more than thousand words, and this is even more true in a global organization, where not everybody masters the English language as good as the native English speakers. Designing a picture that tells the thousand words is not necessarily easy, and may take more time than writing the thousand words. So my plea in this third blog on Global Collaboration:

  • Let’s use PowerPoint in the way it was intended: a tool to illustrate your story with a few simple illustrations.
  • Let’s invest in making nice and telling graphics and pictures. Not everybody is an artist, but in any organization there are gifted people who can make a nice drawing, photograph or picture.
    Videos can also be very useful, but keep them short and entertaining. A new trend is ‘Explanimations’, and these can be very powerful as well, especially in an international context.
  • Use the pictures to tell your story in your own words, this is a lot more powerful than sticking to the script provided on the slides.

Illustration by James Cappa.
The illustrations for the blog posts in the series ‘Global Collaboration’ are made for ‘The Future of HR’ by various artists from around the world.

For an overview of badges go to my Pinterest page ‘Badges’. Badges tell nice stories!

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