The Changing Communications World

One of the great things about Camp Ketchum is how the teachers end up learning as much as the students.

In a grand experiment, 70-plus campers were divided into teams, thrown a business challenge, and asked to present creative solutions in entirely new ways. The results, produced in less than 24 hours, were simply astonishing. Their courage, their energy and their poise rivaled that of far more experienced presenters. With 24 hours’ more time, I have no doubt that each presentation would have been competitive in the real world.

It’s clear that the campers learned new techniques for selling ideas in an environment that encouraged them to stretch and flex some new muscles. 

But for Camp counselors, it was also a significant learning moment that confirmed once again how much the communications world has changed — how visual communication has replaced the written word, how storytelling  has replaced bullet points on a slide, and how communication success depends upon community building rather than the traditional push. 

These are lessons we are taught every day in so many different ways. So why is it that so much of fundamental business communication has yet to learn that lesson? Does it have something do with personal “comfort zones” and a hesitation to give up the more traditional ways of communicating?

I joked in closing remarks at Camp that the last bastion of “death by PowerPoint” is in business presentations. I think Camp Ketchum reaffirmed for all of us how ancient that form of communication really is. And I am very proud that Ketchum is in the forefront of a new, more effective era of communication — and that the new thinking is not just top-down, but bottom-up!