Talk track

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PowerPoint presentations are no longer just presented. They now have a “talk track”.

No, I’ve no idea exactly when it happened, but in the time since PowerPoint slides stopped being presented and started being talked to, there has been a further mutation in the awful corporate lexicon.

It is a development which provides additional confirmation that everyone in offices fundamentally believes they are working in media, tv and probably film, rather than whiling away the precious hours until death on a nondescript business park just outside Swindon, or wherever it is.

Shall I add this into the slides?

No, the slides are a bit busy. Just include it in the talk track.

And by talk track, let us be clear, we just mean “the things you will say when you present it”.

So “include it in the talk track” is just a new, blustery, way of saying “say it”.

Not for the first time, I get a strong sense that we have broken the world.

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Slideware

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Yet another meaningless business word is coined when a simple one already exists.

Hardware: Real bits of proper technology, connected with circuitry and stuff.

Software: Computer programs, applications, things that run on the hardware. Yes, that’s ‘snap’.

Slideware: Erm… Bits of writing and some coloured boxes on a PowerPoint slide. No, that’s not ‘snap’. That’s word processing with pictures.

Slideware, or just ‘slides’, takes its place alongside ‘Vapourware’, which is effectively software and hardware that doesn’t yet exist. In the absence of the thing that the vapourware will become, an enormous slideware deck is used to convince the gullible buyer that the non-existent thing is actually a thing.

‘Talking to’ – the latest craze in dull meeting speak

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‘Talking about’ has suddenly become ‘Talking to’. Which is a thing, albeit quite a different thing entirely.

Nobody knows when, but at some point in the recent past, people doing presentations started to “talk to” a subject, rather than about it. Nowadays you talk to an agenda, talk to a subject, talk to a presentation or talk to a slide, or even talk to a requirement but you rarely discuss a subject or talk about it. You don’t present things either. Presenting is a bit linear, whereas ‘talking to’ suggests that you are releasing your inner creative*, forever prepared to go off piste with some amazing insight into the matter at hand which has only just occurred to your brilliant brain.

If only these talkings-to were literal. Literally talking to an agenda would make for quite an eccentric half hour. Sadly, most attempts to talk to a subject bear no marks of dissimilarity from a bog standard old-school presentation.

Any questions?

*this nounless adjective probably just needs finishing off with something like “self”.

Socialise this

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By ‘socialise’ I assume you mean ‘send it to someone’

Documents, presentations and spreadsheets must now, by common consent, be ‘socialised’.

Have you socialised this proposal?

Can we socialise this presentation amongst the key stakeholders?

Sadly this doesn’t mean that anyone gets to go down to the pub to sink a few pints of Throbson’s Olde Nutcase and slag off the boss.

Instead, it’s a rather more humdrum task of sending an email or – worse – going to actually speak to people and show them something. Perhaps other straightforward tasks should be rebranded. Does this dog need perambulating?

Socialising hints at a glamorous world of long lunches and boozy meetings, whilst delivering little more than an admin task. It’s less like the thing it ought to be than you could possibly imagine.