Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Power Of Bullshit

Bullshitting, or technically speaking, the art of effective presentation aided by tools like exaggeration, right tone and facial features, big words and sometimes even bluffing, is much more important to the academic or technical field than one might think, as I came to know here through some seminars I attended recently.

All through college, I was used to seeing people who were good at bullshitting get away with their hurdles like project presentations, seminars , and most importantly, EXAMS, despite having not an ounce of technical content in their work. Theres also the other type of people, who know their stuff, and have content, but do not know how to put it well. They might put in more content than the former type of people, but the former type still has longer answers, more slides, bigger explanations, better diagrams. So the end result usually goes in favour of the bullshitter-who-knows-nothing than the Know-it-all-who-cant-bullshit.

(Comic strip courtesy phdcomics.com Check it out, theyre really awesome.)

Even at our major project presentations, we learnt that learning to speak confident, project your tone even though you dint really know what you were saying, presenting slides clearly, fully and in laymans terms, were of utmost importance to the profs. What you did in the project did matter, content was important, but it was nothing compared to the big presentation.

At a Ph.D confirmation of my friend X recently here, I learnt that the same applies to the whole academic community. My friend X : it was clear X had got results, fairly good findings in the field. But despite this, it was a hard time for X at the end, almost got screwed by the panel. Why? If my views are right, X lacked in presenting his views clearly. The panel was very much like what we had at NITC : Profs waiting to ask qusetions to screw the students. The questions asked were also similar : If u present one method, they ask if you have explored the other methods and why not, etc. X presented ok, not so forcefully, and neither could he answer his questions in a glamorous way or in laymans terms. He couldnt add the masala. He didnt look confident enough. And remember, these are the very principles of project presentation we learnt at NITC.

So people, next time you hear a guy and say "That guy is full of bullshit..", remember, that guy just might be closer to a Ph.D than you think :-).

13 comments:

Hari said...

True man!! 'Bullshitting' works perfectly in a university like mine where people who know enough crap to write 'theses' score appalling marks while those who know nothing but have great presentation skills score high! Lots and lots of examples!!

I've even won a paper presentation competition with this 'bullshitting' thingy! :D

It rocks, really. :D

~==[[[ Abhi ]]]==~ said...

I'll agree with it too. Just had a ppt at work today. It was fun, i'd started the preparation of the slides jus yesday n i today presented with ease, poise n confidence. :) i ended up getting 7.8/10. :) Just the power of bullshitting :)

Hari Vishnu said...

@hari
wow yea it really does look like u carried bullshit to its ultimate limit- paper presentation ! :-).. congrats.. well bt on a serious note it probably means ure good at technical writing.. dont get me wrong, bullshit is important in that sense :-)..

Hari Vishnu said...

@abhi
hehe nice.. looks like the power is evident in all walks of life :-)

Mahesh Mahadevan said...

As painful and bitter this is, this is only statistically true.
But beware of the "real deal" people: they might as well literally tell you to "cut the crap". Optimality of solution could come when you also have camelshit (highly concentrated, seemingly concise and dry)

Viajero said...

Just had my review 2 days back by the CEO.....i just went tru the flow with no preparation at all....and when the questions came, was surprised to know that I had the answers to all of them ;-)

Hari Vishnu said...

@mahesh
oh yes one must be on the lookout for such people.. theyll probably look straight at u and say "stop playing around and answer to the q".. but then mostly ppl in this field love to hear rhetoric falling like rain during a presentation

@viajero
bullshat ur way thru eh :-)

Wetfingers said...

Hari...eh hem...hem...don't you think you should give me a special mention in this regard? Well, may Takla's Techla-shitting. Danny was just telling me how much he see people bullshitting in IIM - indore..

Raouf said...

As Hari said, taking up Engineering has really opened my eyes to the power of Bullshitting/Gassing, whatever it's called.

On several exams, Bullshitting has pulled me through. But it hurts when people who can Bullshit more, get better marks.[:D]

Bullshitting is extremely important to achieving success in life. :P

Hari Vishnu said...

@wetfingers
hehe.. yea LnDians wouldve been all phd holders if my observations are anything to go by :-)

@raouf
no doubt. esp in exams it is necessary to fool the profs in to thinkin u know something even wen u dont ;-)

Helios said...

A speed reader skims through the contents of a book and presents you with a consise review...

A bullshitter takes a look at the index of the book and presents you the unabridged version plus points which the author possibly missed out...
Anyone care to guess the fullform of Munnabhai M.B.B.S?

mea culpa said...

Bulshitting has helped me too....
'n I agree....

This post just rocks!!!

Hari Vishnu said...

@mea culpa
thanx :-).. nice to know everyone (atlast in engineering) relates to the post..

@helios
nooo guesses dude.. master of balls and bullshit?