Once upon a time there were physical viewgraphs that sat on a projector located some distance from the speaker.Â To change viewgraphs, the speaker used a Voice Activated Slide Changer (VASC) (also know as a person who responded to the phrase â€śnext slide pleaseâ€ť).
As we shifted from viewgraphs to slide carousels to digital presentation the concept of someone else turning the page remained.Â Yet the technology evolved over time so that a remote presentation mouse is available, cheap, user friendly, but also rarely used in military settings.Â Instead, presentations tend to fall back on the cheapest commodity we have â€“ people.
Well, they arenâ€™t actually the cheapest commodity but it sure does come across as cheaper and easier for senior, and in some cases junior, personnel to have someone at the computer to respond to â€śnext slide pleaseâ€ť.Â But thereâ€™s a flip side to this problem.
Outside the military the concept of the VASC has fallen by the wayside.Â Look at any major presentation given today.Â The two most common methods are either self-flipping with a remote â€“ or careful rehearsal and timing.Â In some rare cases there is someone flipping slides, but it is so seamless as to not be noticed â€“ and the words â€śnext slide pleaseâ€ť are never used.
Why do military personnel rely on the concept of â€śnext slide pleaseâ€ť?Â Because some leaders maintain that sense of entitlement that they need mundane tasks performed by someone else.Â Others just simply canâ€™t be bothered with the task of learning how to control a remote, or even worse, donâ€™t have the capacity.
Now, Iâ€™m certain some of the pushback will be â€śwhy does it matter?â€ťÂ How can something as simple and mundane as â€śnext slide pleaseâ€ť be worthy of time and discussion?Â Because I believe, as we see a generational change, that the idea of using a VASC is becoming equated with unprofessional or lazy presentation.Â And that in turn colors the manner in which the presentation is received.Â Unprepared, lazy, unprofessional presentations lose the audience and in doing so lose the message.Â Which is the point of making the presentation anyway, right?
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