A memory from my life as a consultant in the 1990s. Creating a document with dozens of people giving input and changing things is hard: analysts correcting mistakes in numbers, graphic designers insisting on following the house style, partners reshuffling the entire deck, fax machines breaking down, cleaners dropping the entire deck (without a staple and no page numbers) on the floor, copy machine operator shifts ending, etc, and all of this under intense time pressure.

I remember one introvert project manager who had his own survival strategy in this overflow of stimuli: towards the end, simply take all the charts, retreat in his office, and start reordering and rewriting every single headline completely. The headlines would be long sentences and in the right sequence would tell the whole story of the project’s conclusions. Sometimes the link between the headline and the chart beneath it was not 100% on every page, but as a whole the deck made sense.

That’s one approach, which would have worked even better if he had done this 24 hours before the deadline instead of 2.

Photo by Francisco Arnela on Unsplash

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