The "deck" – as anyone in an agency knows – takes on a spectacular life of its own. The order of it, the design of it, the length of it. And that’s before anyone has torn into the content.
As the deadline for the chemistry or tissue meeting or pitch looms, agencies – despite committing themselves to avoiding "death by PowerPoint" – repeatedly resign themselves to presenting the standard deck of charts.
Dumping the PowerPoint is always tough, but I have found that if you can do it, it is truly transformational. And that is when my secret work weapon, the trusty Magic Marker pen, duly steps forward.
Yes, it is the trooper of the lazy brainstorm meeting but it can be so much more than that. Writing words with a Magic Marker gives them a quality that PowerPoint or InDesign never can.
Magic Marker words are freshly invented. They describe ideas that are not fully formed. They are words that the audience can easily challenge and get involved with. They are words that can be crossed out and replaced with new words that are being written as they are being spoken.
The person who stands in a meeting with a Magic Marker is saying they are ready to collaborate.
How many of us extend the advice "you have two ears and one mouth and they should be used in that ratio" into the presentation itself?
It is difficult to apply this wisdom when you are charging through a hundred slides but, with a Magic Marker, there is room for ears. Presentations turn into conversations. It is an invitation for anyone in the room to get up and start writing, or drawing, what they are trying to express.
There is room for non-linear thinking, for seeing new connections and for drawing surprising conclusions.
At the end of the meeting, everything is captured complete with all the odd drawings and crossings out. It is a record not of a presentation but of an event.
Neil Henderson is the chief executive at St Luke's.