Disaster & Crisis Intervention Facilitation

June 3rd, 2007

Lenny Diamond, Tim Karpoff of GFSC and Geoff McFarlane and I have just finished delivering three Disaster & Crisis Intervention workshops for facilitators. It was quite a journey – working with people I haven’t worked with before delivering a course I’ve only ever participated in. It was fun and we innovated all along.

None of us felt comfortable with powerpoint – we used it on the first day nonetheless. By day two the machine sat there unused. By the second course the machine remained unopened, and by the third it didn’t even make it to the venue. We used ‘virtual’ powerpoint – cards – to create the model we were exploring. This provided us with a lot more flexibility. This experience has reinforced my previously-held view that powerpoint presentations mostly are a barrier, rather than an aid, to communication. While an avid user of all things electronic (especially my iPod and my Mac) I’m going to continue facilitating the low-tech way.

5 Comments so far

  1. Sascha Rixon on June 3, 2007 9:00 am

    Hi Viv,

    I totally agree with you on PowerPoint.

    There was actually an article in The Age yesterday about PowerPoint. A professor in the US has written a book about how PowerPoint actually decreases creativity – that we’re all indoctrinated into thinking in bullet points. Can’t remember the name but you should read it – it had PowerPoint and I think cognitive in the title.



  2. Geoff Brown on June 3, 2007 9:49 am

    Firstly, congrats Viv on getting the BLOG up and going!!

    Wanted to pick up on the powerpoint/hi tech thing …

    I used Cafe Conversations (see http://www.worldcafe.com) at a recent workshop. At 2 of the tables, the hosts used laptops to capture the “essence” of each conversations. At the other 2, the traditional Butchers Paper and markers/crayons were used by everyone to capture the stuff that mattered most.

    In the final wrap up, it was evident that the high tech tables didn’t capture much. In the plenary debrief, travellers (participants) felt the high tech tables were “more distracted” … “less spontaneous” … “less creative” … “reduced opportunity to contribute”.

    Take Care

    Geoff Brown

  3. Geoff Brown on June 4, 2007 1:12 am
  4. Viv McWaters on June 4, 2007 1:52 am

    Thanks Geoff – that’s really interesting and confirms what we already know about technology getting in the way. I love technology (obviously) but I don’t think it’s appropriate for every situation.



  5. BJ Diamond on June 4, 2007 10:16 pm

    Congratulations to you, Tim and Lenny on 3 excellent workshops! For quite a few years, I’ve created many Powerpoint presentations, primarily for training purposes, I have always been uncomfortable with how they are ofter used. Whenever possible, I try to use more images and the fewest words possible, while “coaching” presenters to ask questions and engage participants, rather than READ from the slides (aka Death by Powerpoint). The technology can be very useful for creating hard copy participant manuals and printed workbooks.

    It is very interesting to me to read the above comments regarding the way a presentation can mold the way people think. I am reminded of the feeling that I am being forced to think like “Bill Gates” whenever I run into a Microsoft Office issue that does not allow me to write, calculate or create the way I think…

    Thanks for creating your blog and for the interesting topics!

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