The “Briefing”

A retired defense expert takes a humorous tour of the world of presentations these days

7 min read
Image: Peter Norvig
Image: Peter Norvig
“We are put on this earth to give and receive briefings.”

Many years ago, folks would have a meeting and one or more would present some subject—orally—and, maybe, draw something on the blackboard or show a chart that conveyed some technical or business data. Or one could go to a conference and folks would present papers and give reports of studies— orally. Sometimes to convey the message, it was necessary to include a picture, a graph, an equation, a chart, or a table. If the conference was large, that information had to be projected onto a big screen. For this, 35-millimeter slides were used. Preparation of these slides was sufficiently difficult that they were only used when necessary to convey key information.

All that’s gone. Now we have briefings where the presenter reads words projected on a screen or, even worse, asks the audience to read them. Even at the smallest gathering, any person asked beforehand to say a few words on some subject prepares such a briefing.

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