In This Issue
The Road Warrior
Tick, Tick, Tick
The Power of Narrative, not PowerPoint
Take a memo
Perhaps fitting for an entrepreneur whose company started as an online bookseller, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos so believes in the power of story-telling that he has banned PowerPoint and similar slide-oriented presentations at company meetings and instead requires executives to write “narratively structured” six-page memos. “We silently read one at the beginning of each meeting in a kind of ‘study hall,’” Bezos wrote in this year’s annual letter to shareholders.
“New executives have a little bit of culture shock in their first Amazon meeting,” Bezos acknowledged at a recent leadership forum. The six-page memos, he said, have “real sentences, topic sentences, verbs, and nouns—not just bullet points. It is supposed to create the context for what will then be a good discussion.”
Neuroscientists have found that humans are hard-wired to learn through storytelling and that the brain retains more information when it is conveyed in narrative form, not bullet points. This means the Amazon approach not only forces presenters to think more deeply about their ideas, but allows meeting participants to more fully absorb information.
More than words
Cognitive scientists have recognized the impossibility of multi-tasking, so the time meeting participants spend reading PowerPoint bullets comes at the expense of listening to a speaker’s words. Researchers recommend thinking of presentation slides as billboards. If used, they should convey information at a quick glance and rely more on images than text. That’s the philosophy at Google. “Since stories are best told with pictures, bullet points and text-heavy slides are increasingly avoided at Google,” company CEO Sundar Pichai told attendees at its 2017 developers conference.
the Road Warrior
Lyft Makes Inroads on Uber Among Business Travelers
According to a survey by expense software provider Certify, upstart ride-hailing app Lyft has nearly doubled its market share among U.S. business travelers in the past year— although Uber still owns a commanding share of the market. The report found that Lyft accounted for 19% of all ride-hailing receipts and expenses reported through its platform in the first quarter of 2018, up from 10% in the first quarter of 2017.
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