Archive for the ‘Communications – Presentations – Powerpoint’ Category

Why didn’t he look us in the eyes?

August 11, 2014

This may seem petty, but it has been gnawing at me …

Last Thursday, President Obama announced to the nation that he had authorized airstrikes in Iraq.



His rationale: act against an act of genocide and protect Americans stationed in Iraq.

I’m ok with the reasons and the actions.

This isn’t a political observation.

Here’s what’s been bothering me ….


The Federal budget … precisely explained in 98 seconds.

April 16, 2010

A former colleague of mine at McKinsey used to to classify people into two groups: simplifiers and complicators.

In most situations, simplifiers are effective … complicators are ineffectual and annoying.

Complicators cannot distinguish between the pertinent and the irrelevant.

Simplifiers know what’s essential and what’s extraneous.  They have the ability to cut to the core of issues and communicate in clear, simple terms.

Here’s an example …

In this short video that’s been viraling, a college student explains the Federal budget and puts President Obama’s proposed budget cuts in context.

It’s a quick tutorial on the Federal budget … and a nice example of communicating effectively by simplifying.

Click pic or link below to view video


Thanks to JNH for feeding the lead.

PowerPoint Management: Ford’s secret to recent success

March 16, 2010

Punch line: Ford’s CEO Ford’s CEO has an obsession with Power Point … and it works !

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Excerpted from WSJ: Ford’s Renaissance Man, Feb 26., 2010

Alan Mulally, Ford’s president and chief executive officer, is exuding ebullience over, of all things, PowerPoint slides.

“How cool is that?” asks Mr. Mulally, pointing to slides showing rows and rows of numbers … relishing a slide of color-coded charts depicting the status of key projects that looks like a scrambled Monopoly board … and one that shows overlapping ovals that depict the configuration of corporate alliances in the global car business.

Mr. Mulally and his team of 16 top executives review 300 such slides in each weekly BPR, or Business Planning Review, which lasts just over two hours.

“If you aren’t comfortable with that you might be more comfortable leaving the company.”

To a visitor, these slide shows sound mind-numbing. But the CEO is excited about them for good reason.

Ford’s recent success is already amazing considering the prior half-dozen years of near-fatal decline. If it continues, Mr. Mulally will be credited with one of the great turnarounds in corporate history. His method has been to simplify, relentlessly and systematically, a business that had grown way too complicated and costly to be managed effectively.

“Improve Focus, Simplify Operations,” reads one of Mr. Mulally’s many charts, which he repeats like a sacred mantra.

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Soon after his arrival Ford began shedding brands—Jaguar, Land Rover and Aston Martin among them—that the company couldn’t afford to support. Volvo will be next to go.

In the process, Ford cut its number of global platforms, or chassis, to eight from more than 20, and the number of nameplates to 25 from 97.

Ford is methodically implementing the “One Ford” strategy of developing cars in a single region (say Europe, or North America) and selling them globally, instead of developing slightly different cars in each region at enormous extra cost.

“It’s back to Henry Ford’s original vision, isn’t that cool?” gushes Mr. Mulally, reaching for—you guessed it—yet another chart. “It’s all about producing products people want,” he adds. “Our goal is PGA – Profitable Growth for All.”

Full article:

A sharp stick in the "I" …

December 4, 2009

Sports coaches refrain that there’s no “I” in “Team” … every management communications coach cautions against the arrogant and isolating effect of using “I” instead of “we”.

Appears somebody missed that class …

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Excerpted from WSJ: Obama Redeclares, Peggy Noonan, Dec. 3, 2009

There was too much “I” in Obama’s speech at West Point.

George H.W. Bush famously took the word “I” out of his speeches—we called them “I-ectomies” — because of a horror of appearing to be calling attention to himself.

Mr. Obama is plagued with no such fears.

“When I took office . . . I approved a long-standing request . . . After consultations with our allies I then . . . I set a goal.”

That’s all from one paragraph.

Further down he used the word “I” in three paragraphs an impressive 15 times.

“I believe I know” “I have signed” “I have read” “I have visited.”

I, I—ay yi yi. This is a man badly in need of an I-ectomy.

Full article:

Pitch like a pro … how Steve Jobs does it.

November 23, 2009

TakeAway:  If you can’t effectively communicate your thoughts then your thoughts are essentially worthless.  Below, find Your guide for how to knock your next presentation out of the park.

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Excerpted from Washington Post, “Seven secrets of a Steve Jobs presentation,” By Carmine Gallo, November 4, 2009

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is considered one of the greatest corporate storytellers on the world stage … he has transformed the typical dull, plodding, technical presentation into a theatrical experience. Here are his 7 techniques for … inspiring his audience … wow your employees, customers, investors, and, oh yeah, your profs … 

  • Sell dreams, not products … It’s important to have great products, of course, but passion, enthusiasm and emotion will set you apart.
  • Create Twitter-like headlines … If you can’t describe your product or service in 140 characters, keep refining.
  • Introduce the antagonist … great brands and religions have something in common: the idea of vanquishing a shared enemy. Creating a villain allows the audience to rally around the hero–you.
  • Stick to the rule of three … the human brain can only absorb three or four “chunks” of information at any one time …
  • Strive for simplicity … It’s difficult to find 10 words on a dozen Apple slides. Most of Steve Jobs’ slides are visual–photographs or images … Jobs tells the Apple story; his slides complement the story …
  • Reveal a “Holy Smokes” moment … There is always one moment in a Steve Jobs presentation that is the water cooler moment … These showstoppers are completely scripted ahead of time … everyone who watched it–and those who read about–seem to recall …
  • Share the stage … Your audience craves variety. Give it to them. They also want to see teamwork. Show it to them.

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What’s the #1 skill that MBA recruiters are looking for ?

September 29, 2009

TakeAway:  MBA schools and students frequently forget that no matter how book smart one is, if one cannot effectively communicate that knowledge with others and drive action … that knowledge does little good. 

So, the answer: communications skills.

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Excerpted from Insead Knowledge, “Communicating Your Way To The Top,” September 18, 2009

Good communication skills outrank other core business competencies as the number one skill for corporate recruiters looking to hire MBA graduates.

That conclusion comes not from communications specialists, but from an organization that has all the relevant data at its fingertips, The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) …

This is no one-off effect. Communication skills have been consistently ranked in the top three in the last few years and this is not the first year they have been the number one requirement …

Communication is held in such high regard by recruiters … because people today expect to be communicated with on a regular basis and … communication cuts across all levels …

One of the tools of communicating is the ever-popular presentation. However, as commonplace as they may be, …  few have perfected the art of delivering a memorable and effective presentation … a few pointers to offer: first, assess the audience, preferably weeks ahead of the event. Find out who your audience is and what they will be expecting from you. Then you can fine-tune your presentation to make sure you hit the right notes …

Second, good stage presence is another clincher to an effective presentation. This encompasses knowing exactly how to command attention from the audience through body language, eye contact, and moving around the stage instead of standing behind the lectern.

Third, avoid … ‘death by PowerPoint’, basically using a standardized deck of slides, irrespective of context and audience … your story has got to come first, then you produce your slides to support your story … the slides need to be clear and concise … short and simple … visually interesting and entertaining.

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