The newly appointed Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, called out military leaders recently for what most people in the armed forces see as a pervasive problem: the abuse of PowerPoint. It is a widespread issue and sadly has become a pointless tool of communication. It’s about time for military leaders and professionals alike to stop using PowerPoint as a crutch.

People are busy and deserve more. Given their shrinking attention span and the growing complexity of business and military operations, it’s critical for briefings to get to the point quickly. It’s really not PowerPoint’s fault, but the presenter’s. People choose to give long and boring presentations and blame the tool. Like Carter, I caution leaders not to hide behind PowerPoint but to stand up and make a point confidently in their own words. It’s time for leaders to take time to prepare a clear and concise executive summary and save their audience the burden of another boring deck.

Kudos to the new Secretary of Defense for making this a new, non-negotiable standard.


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