PowerPoint was mentioned in the previous post as an example of corporate language taking English to the point where it loses its meaning. It reminded me of seeing this PowerPoint mind map that’s the perfect example of both PowerPoint and mind mapping gone mad.

It was meant to demonstrate the complexity of American military strategy in Afghanistan. Jokingly, the top US Military Commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal said, “when we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.” As General McMaster later added, “Some problems in the world are not bullet-izable.”

While PowerPoint can help you explain your ideas visually, it can also compress your ideas into a rigid format. Bullet points and arrows may organise and condense your points, but they can also condense your way of thinking about them, and also for other people to understand them. A naturally complicated topic can be reduced to a blurred and oversimplified version which can leave your audience indifferent.

Use PowerPoint as a tool to enhance your ideas, not dictate them, but first ask yourself if you really do need to use it.