Mutterings of a consultant

May 4, 2008

Powerpoint suicide

Filed under: General rambling — grantfrear @ 2:29 am
Tags: , ,

Every now and then you get to look at our profession from the other side, from the clients perspective. I was recently invited as the client’s representative to a meeting with a team of consultants who had one of their regional ‘big swinging dicks’ in town.

As soon as I entered the room I could tell I was in for a treat. There they were, a team of consultants with a laptop on the table, poised to attack. It was clear they had one thing in mind, a powerpoint duel. There was one thing that was for sure, the presentation was going to be all about them.

After the introductions off they went, over to the most senior member of the team who opened with the following fateful phrase “I have a few slides prepared, we will not go through all of them’. After about 20 slides we finally got to the most notorious of all consultants slides, the brag slide. This slide is usually jam-packed full of client logos that the client is meant to be impressed with. I often wonder however if all this does is confirm how promiscuous the consultant really is.

I have to admit that I have been in many similar meetings where I have been on the other side of the table. Myself and my collegues have been so keen to impress we launch into some form of powerpoint suicide before even addressing the simple questions
– What is the client expecting from the meeting?
– What are the important issues that as a consultant we should focus on?

This experience was a timely reminder to how our profession and approaches are percieved across the other side of the table. I can only wish that I could have these experiences more often as I am sure that it would make me a better consultant. Perhaps I should have asked permission to video the experience so that I could replay it at times when I found myself getting adrift from the client’ perspective.

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