The Future Of Domestic Terrorism In The United States University Essay Example

In most cases, theoretical exploration of questions benefits in practice to people who use academic findings. The study of terrorism is no exception, since understanding the causes, mechanisms, and methods of organizing terrorist attacks, as well as methods of communication within a terrorist organization, helps in combating them. The topic of this research is the study of the future of terrorism, which is of practical importance for modeling possible attacks and taking countermeasures to prevent them or eliminate their consequences.

However, the concept of terrorism covers many issues that cannot be explored in one study. Problems of terrorism can be distinguished by the purpose and motivation of the attackers, for example, political or religious, regional characteristics, methods of attacks, ways of preventing them, the organization of terrorist acts, and even individual terrorist groups or events. All these questions can be considered from the perspective of future. Nevertheless, most of these questions have been sufficiently studied in the scientific literature. For this reason, the article presents a literature analysis to identify gaps, which demonstrate that the least studied topic is domestic terrorism in the United States. In addition, research on the future development of this type of terrorism is also almost not presented in the literature. This issue is critical for forming US state policy to combat terrorism and form attitude to local radical movements, since they are most often the organizers of mass attacks. Consequently, the topic and research issue of this paper is the future development of domestic terrorism in the United States and the possibility of mitigating it.

Significance

Terrorism is one of the major global problems that still does not have one hundred percent effective means to end it. The world community as a whole, and each country individually, take measures to prevent terrorist attacks; however, they cannot yet eradicate them. A feature of this global problem is that it is relevant and urgent today and has forms of manifestation and consequences for many people. In contrast, although the issues of environmental pollution or global warming are not less important, they are less visible to the general public. Thus, this problem has international significance because it has negative consequences for many countries and their people that should be solved urgently.

Moreover, international practices show that terrorist attacks can be stopped if the special services are aware of their characteristics, the groups’ work, and their plans. For example, authorities can prevent an attack by tracking information about citizens who match the terrorist typology or checking passengers’ luggage before entering an airport or a mass event. However, modern technologies in the development of chemical, biological, nuclear, and cyber weapons reach new heights and forms, which require their studying and controlling. For instance, today, a nuclear bomb can be small in size that fits in the trunk of a car, making it easier for terrorists to spread and carry dangerous weapons. In addition, technologies develop at a significant rate, and therefore the methods of attacks organization. For example, terrorists can use drones to organize attacks or detonate a bomb at a specific time in public places by killing people but leaving the terrorists unpunished (Howcroft, 2018). Thus, studying the characteristics of terrorism and the possibilities of organizing attacks are necessary to prevent possible threats.

Cyber ​​terrorism is another manifestation of terrorism, although, at first glance, it is less dangerous than physical attacks. However, cyber terrorism can also have devastating consequences in people’s lives, but not only stealing information or accessing bank accounts. For example, terrorists can change traffic lights on all roads simultaneously, which will lead to major accidents, since many drivers are guided by traffic lights. Another example is ground public transport, which, according to experts, has become increasingly used by terrorists to explode bombs (Jenkins, 2016). Thus, the study of cyber terrorism as a form of terrorism that can lead to fatal consequences is also a necessity to ensure the safety of the population.

Moreover, the means of communication also have improved with the development of the internet and smartphones, which allow terrorists to remain unnoticed but quickly plan massive terrorist attacks in distant cities. All these examples of technological development demonstrate that the study of terrorism in various forms of manifestation, with different goals and methods of attacks, is one of the most critical issues for the global community and each state. Lack of understanding of the mechanisms and processes within terrorist organizations with different motives will lead to their success, and, consequently, the death of many people and the destruction of critical infrastructure facilities. In addition, the understanding of the future of terrorism by academics, politicians, and security professionals facilitates the search for appropriate countermeasures to prevent threats. Consequently, understanding all these features of progress and their development is necessary for states in the fight against terrorism, which underlines the significance of this topic.

Literature Review

The topic of terrorism and its future is relatively well studied in the scientific literature, since its theoretical researches make it possible to predict directions of terrorism development. For this reason, many scholars have looked at the past and present of terrorism to determine its models and patterns. This understanding is at the heart of any research that suggests future options for the development of terrorism in a globalizing world and the weakness of counter-terrorism or strategies to prevent it.

For example, some scientists have studied past cases of terrorism to understand the patterns of attacks. Kluch and Vaux (2016) analyzed attacks over the past 40 years and determined that terrorism is geographically and temporally concentrated. At the same time, only some countries are faced with severe outbreaks, for example, the US and UK, and even fewer states experience prolonged terrorism, for example, some Middle East countries. Thus, this study presents regional patterns of terrorism, which make it possible to suggest its future. These findings coincide in part and are confirmed by the research of another scientist who studied the impact of population growth on the development of terrorism. Coccia (2018) concluded that terrorism occurs more often in cultural areas with high population growth rates, collective type of identity, and low socio-economic development, such as Middle East countries. Since most terrorist organizations, such as ISIS or Al Qaeda, are organized in the states of North Africa or the Middle East, the author’s conclusions highlight the regional characteristics of terrorism. Consequently, these studies demonstrate the countries that most likely can be a source of terrorism, as well as their potential targets, which is useful information for predicting the future direction of attacks.

A significant number of sources study modern trends and features of terrorism, which are also critical for predicting its development. For example, Jenkins (2016) finds, based on terrorist attacks in France and Belgium, that public transport, concert halls, and other public places became the main target of terrorists due to crowds. This fact demonstrates the shift in the emphasis of terrorists in government organizations to ordinary citizens, which can be both a form of religious extremism and a way to achieve political goals. In addition, Jenkins (2016) noted that one of the main reasons for the success of some attacks was the support for local confederates that supplied weapons. The findings of this article can also help security forces to assess the danger and take steps to understand how terrorist organizations plan and prevent attacks. Thus, this article provides two questions to explore, such as securing public spaces and the role of local radicals in terrorist attacks.

Another security threat that is often discussed in the literature is cyber terrorism, which has multiple manifestations and definitions. This threat is a relatively recent form of terrorism and new development, which, however, already has severe consequences for countries’ security. Mazari et al. (2017) summarize most of the definitions and says that cyber terrorism is an attack on critical national and government assets by using computer networks to achieve political, ideological, or religious goals. Such attacks can harm both a specific group of people and society as a whole, for example, by damaging critical infrastructure elements such as power plants or banking networks. In addition, in their article, the authors consider the risks associated with cyber terrorism, depending on the goals of their attacks, as well as measures for its concealment (Mazari et al., 2017). Zerzri (2017) also examines the types of cyber terrorism, highlighting hybrid and pure terrorism, and although the author directs recommendations for overcoming it to Tunisia, he provide a general idea of ​​this phenomenon. Consequently, the concepts and features of cyber-terrorism as one of the threats to national and global security have been studied.

Scientists also pay significant attention to new possible types of threats, such as the cases of biological, chemical, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) incidents. Moreover, this issue is often discussed by international and global organizations, such as the EU, the UN, NATO, or ASEAN. For example, Roffey (2019) devoted his article to an examination of the EU’s response to the CBRNE crisis and reviewed strategies, tools, and plans of action against terrorism and possible threats to use of CBRNE weapons. The EU’s plan of action includes ensuring that unauthorized people cannot access CBRNE materials, identifying these materials to withdraw them, and responding quickly to incidents with these materials, and addressing their consequences. Such a plan is universal and general for the announcement to the world community, but it has more detailed instructions for employees of various companies and organizations that contact CBRNE materials.

Other researchers also study the risks and possible consequences of terrorist threats using CBRNE. For example, Koehler and Popella (2018) explore CBRN incidents and conclude that such materials are most often used not by religious groups but by internal terrorists, for example, far-right radicals. Although the authors do not identify many such cases, they note that the prevention of potential threats and the use of countermeasures is challenging due to the characteristics of the plots. Consequently, these findings provide a different perspective on the risk of CBRN weapon use posed by individuals who are more difficult to identify. Thus, the topic of CBRN cases is also studied and demonstrates that possible scenarios for CBRN incidents connected to domestic terrorism.

Furthermore, a significant part of the literature discusses ways of combating and preventing terrorism or methods of counter-terrorism. For example, Reed (2017) focuses on such countermeasures as countering IS propaganda and says that most of the lessons for effectively countering people can be found in the past and present. Reed (2017) considers that these lessons are the need to use various communication channels, the say-do-gap, defensive and offensive messages, market research, and targeted local messages. In other words, the main communication strategies are the use of various channels of communication and active propaganda against terrorism to influence potential members of organized groups. These strategies are not new, but they can be successfully applied after modifications due to the modern technological development of society.

Other authors study other methods of counter-terrorism and their weaknesses that need to be improved. For instance, McKendrick (2019) explores technology, such as Artificial Intelligence, as a possible counter-terrorism tool. McKendrick (2019) examines the possibilities and effectiveness of technology, as well as the problems of using it without violating human rights. The author concludes that, at the moment, the use of AI is neither bad nor good due to its flaws. This technology can only be used after the improvement and adoption of appropriate policies that allow data collection but are not intrusive and do not violate human rights. Other researchers also explore different methods and approaches to counter-terrorism and demonstrate that its future depends on the development of terrorism.

Moreover, there are many sources in the literature that predict future terrorism and the fight against it. Gonzalez (2020) explores the African region, major terrorist organizations, and conflicts to predicts terrorist activity until 2025. In the author’s opinion, in the short term, the territorial settlement of terrorism tends to weaken, despite some increased activity in bordering areas of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Such predictions are associated with the strengthening of the counter-terrorism policy adopted by the African Union, which should affect large-scale terrorist campaigns.

At the same time, other authors approach the forecasts of future terrorism more globally. Howcroft (2018) examines the future of terrorism by defining terrorist motivations, tactics, weapons and technology, and targets. The author says that religious motivation will continue to prevail, but protests against migrants, economic inequality, and technology to replace workers can also motivate terrorists. Howcroft (2018) also notes that guns, bombs, and cars will be applied frequently by terrorists due to their convenience, although advanced technologies and cyber attacks are likely to be used more regularly as well. At the same time, public places as the main targets of terrorist attacks will remain the most vulnerable. Other predictions offered by scientists include local and global trends, the possibility of counter-terrorism, as well as the radicalization of the mood of the population in some regions. Thus, this review demonstrates that terrorism has many issues to discuss as a complex social and political phenomenon, and most of them have already been studied by various authors.

The Gap in the Literature

A literature review demonstrates that the issue of terrorism has been thoroughly studied by scientists in its various manifestations and methods of combating it. However, this review also indicates that most of the work is devoted to jihadist and external terrorist threats associated with Muslim countries. Nonetheless, the issue of domestic terrorism and its future is poorly studied and highlighted in the literature.

Domestic terrorism is a severe threat to any state but the US policy in recent decades has been directed mostly against external threats, which was the reason for its migration policy. Nevertheless, in the literature, there are several relevant articles and books on domestic terrorism and its sources, although their number is limited. For example, Bjelopera (2017) examines the concept of domestic terrorism and its types in the United States, depending on the motive, goals, and methods of implementing attacks. In addition, the author proposes changes in legislation that will help combat domestic terrorism. However, this source does not consider the issue of terrorism development in the United States and its future. Williams (2018) also studies domestic terrorism in the US, but only one of its manifestations, namely “lone wolf” terrorism, which is expressed in the commitment of attacks by one person but not an organization. Although the author does not receive a single typology that characterizes lone-wolf terrorists his findings can be useful for developing methods for their detection. However, this article lacks forecasts of the terrorism future in the United States.

Another proof of the gap in the literature is an article analyzing the use of the topic of terrorism in scientific research. Schuurman (2019) analyzes 3,442 articles published between 2007 and 2016 and concludes that most of the articles are about al-Qaeda and jihadist terrorism, as well as specific events. However, the author finds that state terrorism and terrorism unrelated to jihad remain understudied. Consequently, the main gap in the literature that needs to be studied is the future of domestic terrorism in the United States, since this topic is an essential component in the fight against terrorism in general and the preparation of measures for its implementation.

Research Questions

  1. How can the US mitigate future domestic terrorism incidents by using available measures of counter-terrorism?
  2. How can the US mitigate future domestic terrorism incidents by using the technology of Artificial Intelligence?
  3. What is the worth of modeling activities in relation to the causes and mechanisms of terroristic attacks?

References

Bjelopera, J.P. (2017). Domestic terrorism: An overview. Congressional Research Service. Web.

Coccia, Mario. (2018). The relation between terrorism and high population growth. Journal of Economics and Political Economy, 5(1), 84-104. Web.

Gonzalez, Y.S. (2020). Main trends of terrorism in Africa toward 2025. Brazilian Journal of African Studies – Porto Alegre, 5(9), 53-83.

Howcroft, J. (2018). The future of terrorism: The practitioners’ view. Connections: The Quarterly Journal, 17(2), 77-81. Web.

Jenkins, B.M. (2016). Trains, concert halls, airports, and restaurants—All soft targets: What the terrorist campaign in France and Belgium tells us about the future of Jihadist terrorism in Europe. Mineta Transportation Institute. Web.

Kluch, S.P. & Vaux, A. (2016) The non-random nature of terrorism: An exploration of where and how global trends of terrorism have developed over 40 years. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 39(12), 1031-1049. Web.

Koehler, D., & Popella, P. (2018) Mapping far-right chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism efforts in the west: Characteristics of plots and perpetrators for future threat assessment. Terrorism and Political Violence. Web.

Mazari, A.A., Anjariny, A.H., Habib, S.A., & Nyakwende, E. (2017). Cyber terrorism taxonomies: Definition, targets, patterns, risk Factors, and mitigation strategies. In Management Association, I. (Ed.), Cyber security and threats: Concepts, methodologies, tools, and applications (pp. 608-621). IGI Global.

McKendrick, K. (2019). Artificial intelligence prediction and counterterrorism. Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Web.

Reed, A. (2017). Counter-terrorism strategic communications: Back to the future, lessons from past and present. In M. Conway, L. Jarvis, O. Lehane (Eds.). Terrorists’ use of the Internet: Assessment and response (pp. 269-278). IOS Press.

Roffey, R. (2019). The EU as an actor in CBRNE crisis: A general picture. In D.P. O’Mathúna, D., & I. de Miguel Beriain (Eds.) Ethics and Law for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear & Explosive Crises (pp. 15-35). Springer.

Schuurman, B. (2019). Topics in terrorism research: Reviewing trends and gaps, 2007-2016. Critical Studies on Terrorism, 12(3), 463-480. Web.

Williams, J. B. (2018). Domestic terrorism in the United States. Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies, 5148. Web.

Zerzri, M. (2017). The threat of cyber terrorism and recommendations for countermeasures. Center for Applied Policy Research, 4(2017), 1-6. Web.

Crucial Lessons For A Business Leader

Strategic Role of HR in the Organization

The human resource department plays a very crucial role in the management of an organization’s workforce. HR recruits the right candidates, trains them, motivates them, and administers performance appraisals to them. These functions are not easy as they require strategic approaches. Human resource management should be connected to the organization’s objectives, goals, and strategies. This can be achieved through strategic management of the workforce to improve business performance, advance innovation, competitive advantage, and flexibility (Gupta, 2020). Strategic HR also helps in the development of an organizational culture that is fit for purpose.

The effectiveness of strategic human resource management requires the HR department to take part in the implementation of the company’s policies. Hiring, rewarding, and training employees are the primary activities through which HR can be demonstrated. A strategic HR practitioner should also scout for ways through which human resources can create direct impacts on the growth of the business. An organization is more likely to succeed if its workforce is working towards shared objectives. A strategic HR practitioner analyzes the employees to determine the specific actions that are needed to enhance their value to the organization. The outcomes of such analysis should be used to develop HR techniques that address weaknesses among employees.

Job Analysis and Safety

Job analysis is the process and activities involved in collecting relevant information about a particular job and assessing its details. There are different requirements, responsibilities, descriptions, pay packages, and qualifications that characterizes jobs. Within an organization, there are various positions that require individuals to possess certain attributes to fill them up. It is vital to study different jobs to establish the responsibilities and activities they entail, their necessary qualifications, their significance, and their working conditions. Therefore, job analysis puts much emphasis on the job itself and not the individual doing the job. However, this does not prevent the Human Resources Department within an organization from collecting relevant information from the person who holds the position about some details of the job.

As a leader in any organization, job analysis is an integral element of management that avails useful data for the management of performance, selection and recruitment of employees, and workforce planning. Information gathered from the process of job analysis also helps in succession and career planning, employer and labor relationship building, risk management, training and development, as well as compensation administration. A business leader will also obtain first-hand information on the safety, health, and security characteristics of various jobs for proper planning.

Staffing Systems

Staffing within an organization should not just be done haphazardly without following some laid down procedures. Instead, an organization should come up with a system that ensures that employee attrition is dealt with in more effective and better ways. Indeed, the leadership of many organizations often grapples with the thorny issue of employee unproductivity and high turnover rates among the best and highly skilled employees. A staffing system can help address this by providing business leaders with clear visibility of all their staff members. The staffing system helps to manage employees and ensure that their collective and personal interests are aligned with the objectives of the organization.

Staffing can be approached in two ways: staffing strategy and staffing plans. A staffing strategy is a long-term plan that illustrates how an organization will perform over a certain time period, like five or ten years. The leadership of an organization needs assurance that its staff will match its needs. On the other hand, staffing plans are short-term and tactical initiatives designed to address prevailing staff surpluses and gaps. Both approaches are important for an organization’s staffing requirements.

Performance Management

Performance management is a management tool that organizational managers use in monitoring and evaluating work done by employees. The objective of performance management is to create an atmosphere where employees can perform to the best of their skills and abilities and effectively and efficiently produce high-quality work. It helps both managers and employees to have shared goals, career progress, and expectations. Managers use this tool to ensure that each employee’s work is aligned with the overall vision of the organization. Thus, it is incumbent upon a manager to establish relevant performance management programs to measure and create goals, milestones, and objectives. Conventionally, performance management is often conducted through end year reviews paradigm. However, these are traditional tools that cannot produce effective results in some setups. The best approach to review the performance of employees is to turn every opportunity that a manager interacts with employees into a learning occasion.

Performance management is used by business leaders to recommend new actionable courses, make important decisions that would assist employees in attaining their objectives and adjust workflow. In addition to individual employee benefits, performance management also helps an organization attain its overall goals. Performance management should be tailored per department in line with its goals and objectives. For instance, the sales department in an organization can set a target that requires staff to have sold a certain volume of goods within a specified time. In performance management, the manager of the sales department will guide the sales personnel to attain the numbers set for them.

Training and Talent Management & Development

In every industry, there is a cadre of employees with special skills and talents that organizations are not willing to lose. The primary objective of training and talent management is to maximize the strengths of every employee, encourage innovation and creativity, and champion diversity. It intends to create a work atmosphere where an organization reverberates with drive, passion, and energy that employees befit (Elegbe, 2016). Skills and talents are not constant variables but rather upgraded, retained, and nurtured continuously.

This justifies why an organization needs to coach and train its employees to keep a talent culture that is viable within it. In the context of talent management within an organization, training implies entails counseling, coaching, and obtaining feedback from employees in regard to their performances. The primary area of focus of training and talent management is to support employees either in an individual capacity or in groups to deliver their best performances.

Compensation

Compensation is the benefits that are given to employees in exchange for the services they offer to their employer. Employees can be compensated in different ways, including wages and salaries, health insurance, paid leave, bonuses, time off, retirement plans, disability allowance, and life insurance (Belcourt et al., 2019). Compensation is often linked to employee performance appraisals, where workers who perform better are rewarded with some perks. Not all employees qualify to receive the same amount of compensation. Instead, the compensation of employees is based on internal influences and pay structure and external influences and pay levels.

The salaries, benefits, and wages that are given to employees depend on their levels of skills and experience. Those with the highest levels of skills and experience, like the chief executive officers, president, and chief financial officer, are compensated at the highest rates. In addition, the salaries and wages that competitors pay their workers also influence the amount of compensation to be paid to employees. A competitor firm that pays its employees high wages might cause workers from a different firm to join it. It is, hence, important for HR practitioners to regularly regulate the number of wages given to employees of competitor firms to avoid high turnover rates.

The legal environment of a business involves the roles that law plays in all perspectives of business owners. It is not just complying with the relevant laws but also understanding a business’ legal frameworks upon which a business operates to achieve and maintain compliance. A multinational corporation is bound by public international law, which refers to a set of principles and rules that govern the relationships and conduct between states and the firms and their employees (Hays-Thomas, 2016). The legal environment plays a crucial role in the operations of a business and customer behavior.

Some of the factors that determine the legal environment include employment contracts, taxation laws and regulations, and immigration laws. These factors can determine the success or failure of a business. This explains why business organizations should have a deep understanding of their legal environment. Organizational law is the most important legal factor that affects the legal environment. The scope of any firm’s activities will be determined by its type of entity before registration. Different countries have different employment laws on several issues, including minimum wage. For instance, in operating a business in the US, one will be required to pay more to employees as compared to running the same business in China.

Lessons Learned

The texts, discussions, and readings have indeed offered vital lessons on a myriad of topics. In each of the seven sections, I have drawn crucial lessons as a business leader. I have learned that an organization is more likely to succeed if its workforce is working towards shared objectives. A strategic HR practitioner analyzes the employees to determine the specific actions that are needed to enhance their value to the organization. The outcomes of such analysis should be used to develop HR techniques that address weaknesses among employees. The significant role played by the job analysis process has also been a key highlight of the lesson. It is only by conducting job analysis that the leadership of an organization will be able to distinguish different jobs. Such distinctions should be based on knowledge, skills, experiences, performance standards, work behavior and activities, equipment and machines used in the job, financial impact, and budgetary allocations. Although it is not easy to determine the tasks that employees should perform within an organization, job analysis is an important element of human resource management that cannot be avoided.

When it comes to staffing systems, it has emerged that it helps identify and address the staffing inferences of an organization’s plans and strategies. Over time, there will be instances where discrepancies among staff will be observed in an organization. Some tasks will require a greater number of employees than others. All these can be addressed through staffing strategies that ensure fair and equitable distribution of staff among different departments. On its part, performance management is an accountable and continuous process that creates a more transparent and healthier environment in the workplace. It can best be implemented through effective communication that can be achieved by holding regular meetings. There must also be concrete rules in place to allow every employee to understand what is expected of him. This will help avoid instances where employees just perform random tasks in the hope that they impress their managers.

As a business leader, it would be instrumental in finding out from individual employees why they failed to deliver in certain areas or activities and explaining what should be done. Training is intended to make employees feel stronger and motivated to build their capabilities. It also helps in developing talents for the organization’s future needs, improving performance, managing conflicts, solving problems, improving communication, nurturing talent, and managing stress and time. When it comes to compensation, competitive salaries and wages should be provided within an industry’s geographical area. An organization that has a reputation for paying below-market wages to its employees will most likely repel a skilled workforce. In addition to competitors’ compensation, an organization’s compensation is also determined by its efficiency, employee productivity, and its financial position. Employees can either be directly or indirectly compensated by their employer. Direct compensations are the salaries and wages, while indirect compensations are the services and benefits extended to employees as rewards.

Finally, I have learned that the legal environment across different countries affects the diversity and inclusion of employees. In some countries, it is prohibited to have more than one-third of an organization’s workforce drawn from one gender, race, or ethnic group. In other countries, especially those in the Middle East, women are forbidden from exposing their faces and heads to strangers. This means that their employment fields are limited. Still, some countries are very strict when it comes to child labor. A business leader must strive to clearly understand the legal environment of the business to avoid problems with law enforcement authorities.

References

Belcourt, M., Snell, S., Singh, P., & Morris, S. (2019). Managing human resources. Nelson.

Elegbe, J. A. (2016). Talent Management in the developing world: Adopting a Global Perspective. Routledge.

Gupta, A. D. (2020). Strategic human resource management: Formulating and implementing HR strategies for a competitive advantage. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Hays-Thomas, R. (2016). Managing Workplace Diversity and Inclusion: A Psychological Perspective. Taylor & Francis.

“The 3 Magic Ingredients Of Amazing Presentations” By Phil Waknell: Key Points

The way I see it, one thing to take away from Phil Waknell’s TED Talk is not necessarily how to make a good presentation but what a presentation is in the first place. In the beginning, Waknell states that, at some point in life, each and every person has to present, with or without slides. By doing so, he implicitly defines presentation in a broad sense – as a process of transforming people with information rather than merely the technical means of delivering it. It is an important distinction for me because I have all too often encountered people who interpreted “presentation” in a narrow sense – as merely a collection of slides accompanying the speaker’s performance. Equating slides with “presentation” gives them the value of their own as if they were a thing in themselves. What Waknell points out, though, reminds the viewers – me included – that the slides are merely a technical means to an end that are subjected to the overall purpose of impacting the audience. In other words, even before describing what combines a good presentation, he reminds the audience it is a process, not an artifact.

Waknell’s thoughts also resonate with me due to the emphasis he puts on the audience. He states that the main thing about the presentation is the people who listen to it rather than those who deliver it. It reminds me of an exchange I once witnessed in a classroom. I do not remember the precise topic, but at one point, a student opined that education should be centered on teachers because they are the ones who possess and distribute knowledge. The teacher responded that it was precisely the case why it has to be about the students – the educator already has the knowledge, and the entire point is to deliver it to students. I think such misunderstandings occur because people can easily confuse influence and importance. However, the simple fact that the presenter is positioned to influence the audience does not make him the most important thing about the process. Presentations are made not so that the speakers can enjoy some public attention but so that the audience takes something away from them – and, in this sense, Waknell’s point may also serve as a metaphor for education.

That leads the reflection to the point in Waknell’s reading that I cannot endorse wholeheartedly. According to him, the ultimate thing about the presentation is changing what people do rather than know or believe. However, I do not see this idea applied to every context in which a presentation might be set because eliciting action is not always the desired outcome. Say a philosophy professor delivers a lecture that explains Aristotle’s political theory in meticulous detail. The lecture is so well-structured and well-explained that every student in the auditorium now has a thoroughly good understanding of what the Greek philosopher thought on the matter and why. However, this knowledge has no immediate impact on how students behave in their daily lives. It leaves open the question of what – if any – action it should elicit. From Waknell’s perspective, this would make the presentation bad and ineffective. For me, it merely shows that not every presentation needs to impact what people do. In other words, Waknell is right that every presentation is an audience-focused process, but this process does not always need to change how the audience acts.

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