diamond geezer

 Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The induction meeting is underway. Later there'll be important health and safety information, and details about what time the canteen stops making sandwiches. But first, a brief presentation to sit through. The presenter's Powerpoint finger flicks into action.

A short sentence of welcome pops up on the screen. The presenter reads out the whole sentence, word for word. There is no emotion, no feeling, just a flat delivery of emotionless syllables. All around the table, the group's hearts collectively sink.

The company's mission statement follows on slide two, unnecessarily italicised. Again the presenter turns to the screen and reads it out, word for word. Or rather, she attempts to do so. Some of the words are a bit hard, apparently, and she stumbles through. Next slide please.

A list of corporate objectives appears, each indented with a single bulletpoint. The presenter insists on narrating the complete text for participants' benefit, just in case they can't read. Alas it's not clear she can read herself. Sentences are reordered, words are omitted, and phrases are completely bungled. The group raises its collective eyes to the ceiling.

Next up on screen are the company's cultural values. There are a lot of these - a prospect which clearly fills the presenter with inner dread. She has a go, bumbling through the first and skipping chunks out of the second. The third is mangled beyond comprehension, and the fourth abbreviated to within an inch of its life. An uncomfortable pause follows.

"I don't think we need to read the rest of these," she says. "Tell you what, I'll email the Powerpoint to everyone after the meeting's finished." She clicks silently through three more slides to the end of the presentation. And sits down.

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