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A story from Tarzan: a different kind of success story…
This week I’m going to veer from our new “let’s share a business story” angle and write about how a classic cartoon can impact your business success.
No, I haven’t gone mad. You read that right – sometimes we can find life lessons from the simplest things and everyday events around us. In this case, it’s a Tarzan cartoon that I remember vividly to this day.
In the first scene, Tarzan just learned that Jane is in the jungle and he’s excited to meet her, but very nervous — just like many of us are before an important meeting or presentation.
He wants to make a great first impression – hey, apparently even guys in the jungle know just how important that is!
Yet another story that proves the importance of visual signals and polishing your package…
While the story below happened a while ago, it’s one that still resonates — and is relevant — to this day.
The managing director of a large financial services firm approached me after a presentation that I delivered to his group, and asked if he could speak privately.
He told me about an employee at his firm with brilliant ideas and an incredible track record — someone who had all the attributes to be promoted to partner. But, she wasn’t.
When I asked him what the problem was, he actually hemmed and hawed but eventually told me her professional image (or lack thereof) was holding her back. He asked if I would meet with her to discuss possible executive coaching.
I’m always fascinated by things that people don’t realize about themselves, things that might be significantly impacting their careers in a less-than-positive way. These bad mannerisms, wardrobe “malfunctions,” etc., all seem so obvious to us, don’t they? Yet often people have no clue.
Case in point: I recently offered some impromptu coaching for a woman – a Millennial – after one of my presentation skills programs that was one of many sessions at a conference. She was looking to enhance her leadership and presentation skills. “Tell me about your hair,” I said, referring to the gorgeous mane that hung down past her posterior.
“It’s just me,” she said, looking a bit confused.
“Yes, and it’s beautiful,” I said, “but what do you do with it when you speak?”
Her confusion deepened.
It was with great interest that I recently read a Harvard Business Review article from June 2013 called “How to Give a Killer Presentation,” written by Chris Anderson, the curator of TED Talks.
The article drove home the point that effective presentation skills can make or break a speaker — no matter what industry or his or her level.
Anderson first tells the story of a painfully shy 12-year-old Masai boy from Kenya with very limited English, who had such an amazing story to tell that he was invited to give a TED talk. He was coached how to do so successfully. When the boy finally gave his talk one year later to a packed house of 14,000 people (probably all native English speakers at that), the audience hung on every word and leapt to their feet with a standing ovation at the end.
The way that businesses operate is changing in many ways. Concepts about effective leadership are changing, as is the prevalence of flex-time, shared jobs, working virtually from home, and the need to influence with or without authority based on a title or pay grade.
Companies are looking for outside-the-box thinkers and leadership abilities at all levels from the mailroom to the boardroom.
They want a “new school” way of thinking and not the “old school” mentality that what worked before is good enough.
Employers are complaining they cannot find new hires with the skills they need, and their bottom lines are suffering.
Would-be employees — particularly recently minted college graduates — are complaining that they can’t find positions that give them the chance to fully demonstrate their skills and talents.