Latest "Presentation skills training" Posts
“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates
Wise words from Microsoft’s co-founder & former CEO, now philanthropist.
That quote is especially relevant to two specific occasions in Microsoft’s history in 2012 and 1995 — when the tech giant had epic fails during live product launch presentations.
The most recent incident featured Microsoft’s former President of Windows and Windows Live Division, Steven Sinofsky, as he delivered the official launch presentation for the Surface tablet. Right in the middle of his presentation, the tablet seemed to crash, resulting in a painful 20 seconds where he said, “Excuse me just a second” before running to grab a backup tablet behind a lectern that was ready to go.
An article in Entrepreneur, 7 Deadly Sins of Business Meetings, reminded me of something that happened to a colleague a few years ago — long before webinars became common as effective remote employee communication business tools.
The issues that Mary ran into have not changed. She’d been recently promoted. As part of her new job duties, she facilitated a weekly sales meeting with regional sales staff, all done by conference call.
As the weeks went by, Mary began to notice that people joined the call later and later, and whenever the weekly meeting came up in conversation, it was increasingly obvious that no one was happy with them – and, in fact, considered them a waste of time. She finally pulled two sales managers aside to determine what was happening.
When I think of leadership presence, I always remember Joanne, a managing director at a large private bank. Here’s her story …
It was the summer of 2010. This client company bank brought in 15 top Ivy League college graduates that they’d carefully recruited for an intensive six-week training/onboarding program.
I was booked to deliver a presentation skills training session about five and a half weeks into this program. I was scheduled to first join the 15 participants for dinner, so I got there early and sat down in their windowless training room. The first thing I noticed was that there was NO energy in the room. None. People looked exhausted, dazed, confused, and the guy next to me whispered, “There’s only 45 minutes left till dinner.
Virtual Presentation Skills:
Connect With Your Next Remote Audience
Did you know that to be successful, virtual presentations require different tactics than in-person meetings do? That’s because it’s much harder to tell whether or not your audience is truly engaged when you can’t see them.
Let me share a cautionary tale. An insurance exec I know – Pete — was quite confident in his webinar delivery skills – even to the point of arrogance. He often bragged about his virtual facilitation skills to colleagues and supervisors alike. “Webinars? Piece of cake. Everyone loves my webinars.”
I was observing Pete facilitating one of his regular weekly WebEx team meeting when we heard a beep-boop-beep on the line: the sound of a phone being dialed. When he asked who was making that sound, he was met with silence.
You’ve probably told many stories in your life. It’s a natural part of human conversation: “Hey, listen to what happened to me today!”
But when it comes to giving a business presentation, and including a story within it, there are some pointers about effective storytelling that you need to know. Ask any best-selling novelist and he or she will likely tell you that the best novels have a specific structure, and the best stories also do.
Luckily, this structure is innate in how we communicate. It’s the way we naturally tell a story.
If, however, you are trying to make a point or get a certain message across by using a story in your business presentation, being consciously aware of this structure will help. It will keep you from rambling, from wandering off on a tangent, from including things that dull down the power of the story, and from losing your audience’s attention.