Format for things that need format, freedom for those that don’t

In our ever-so-digital world, it’s hard to think outside of the standard formats and metaphors that are presented to us. Presentations require slides, and so our presentation tools use slides as their metaphor. Emails require big and small blobs of text, and so the tools allow for that. The hard part, I find, is knowing when and how to ditch the metaphor.

Sometimes it’s good to structure your presentation with a bunch of blank slides and one or two diagrams sprinkled in. Sometimes the format of the meeting should be to come up with the end-goals first, rather than diving in to solve individual problems. And it’s even ok to pop images and videos into email, as long as they support the point.

Don’t try to mold everything to a particular format. Think about the medium, the message, the inputs, the expected outputs, and most of all, the people. And consider all of this all the time. Before every email. Before every presentation. Before every conversation.

From here on, that’s my goal.

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