Latest "Presentation Skills" 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.
A colleague’s daughter contacted me recently after being passed over twice for a choice promotion. She told me she really wanted to advance in the company, but didn’t seem to have what they were looking for.
“I’m responsible, easy to work with, and really good at my job,” she said to me.
“So what do you think is missing?” I asked … already knowing what she’d say.
She confirmed my suspicions: “I’m just not being perceived as a leader or someone who can effectively manage projects and teams.”
I believe that leadership presence is a combination of character traits and skills that can be learned. People must first identify — and embrace — their areas of strengths and opportunities for growth before embarking on a quest for leadership recognition.
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.
Know your audience and capture their attention.
This statement sounds so simple, but many of us forget what it means.
You can’t expect to convince or sell anyone anything if you don’t understand what he or she expects or wants from you. What do they want to receive from your message?
What’s in it for them?
Let me share an example of what happened when a presenter failed to remember this basic message…
One of BRODY’s clients is a major pharmaceutical firm that throws a party when an employee hits the 30-year anniversary mark. I was honored to be invited to Pete’s 30th anniversary celebration.
More than 60 coworkers, clients, and upper management execs gathered for Pete’s party, where we sipped and nibbled as we waited for Pete’s new supervisor to come in and make the celebratory toast.
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!