Archive for the ‘Presentations’ Category

Quick: how many 3’s in the block of numbers?

September 7, 2017

Let’s test our cognitive skills today..


This summer, I’ve been reading up on storytelling and data visualization.

Hit pay dirt with a book called  Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals.

One of the topics is how to leverage pre-attentive attributes – visual cues that can influence what information catches a reader’s eye on a slide or chart … think: “shiny objects”.

To demonstrate the concept of pre-attentive attributes: Observe the block of numbers below … how many 3’s are there in this block of numbers?


And, the answer is …


In praise of the “child’s mind” …

July 21, 2017

One of my current summer reads is “Presentation Zen” …

Theme of the book is that great slide presentations contain appropriate content arranged in the most efficient, graceful manner without superfluous decoration.

In Zen-speak, the key principles are: Restraint in preparation. Simplicity in design. Naturalness in delivery.

Now, to today’s point …


Recently, one friend said of another friend : He’s like an “infant-adult”.

Nothing derogatory intended.

Just observing that the guys seemed to derive a “wow” from practically every experience.

That makes life a lot more enjoyable (I think).

And, it’s very Zen-like.

According to the book, Zen teachings often speak of the “beginner’s mind” or “child’s mind.”


The art of storytelling and the “power of the narrative”

November 29, 2016

Trump mastered a “central truth of persuasion” … Hillary didn’t.


In my courses, I emphasize that pitches (think: Powerpoint decks) should be organized around storylines with smooth-flowing logic that is sufficiently compelling to lead the audience to an inescapable conclusion.

For many students, that notion doesn’t come naturally, especially since we typically think about stories in a cultural frame (movies, books, music) … not business communications..

Not only are storylines important in business communications, they are critical in political campaigns.

Just ask Mark McKinnon.

He’s a former Bush marketing adviser who followed around all of the candidates for a Showtime series called (appropriately) “The Circus”.

After 18 months on the campaign trail, McKinnon concluded:


More specifically, McKinnon says:

Voters are attracted to candidates who lay out a storyline.

Losing campaigns communicate unconnected streams of information, ideas, and speeches.

Winning campaigns create a narrative architecture that ties it all together into something meaningful and coherent.

Trump told a story.

Hillary didn’t.

So, how to tell a good story?


Be bold: chuck PowerPoint … say, what?

September 6, 2012

Punch line: Despite a 95% share of presentation software, many companies are now starting to encourage stepping away from traditional power point slide presentations. 

* * * * *

Excerpted from Businessweek, “Death to Power Point!”

Power point

No matter what your line of work, it’s only getting harder to avoid death by PowerPoint.

Since Microsoft launched the slide show program 22 years ago, it’s been installed on no fewer than 1 billion computers and an estimated 350 PowerPoint presentations are given each second across the globe. 

On June 18, the Iranian government made the case for its highly contested nuclear program to world leaders with a 47-slide deck … Two years back, the New York Knicks tried to woo LeBron James with a PowerPoint pitch, which may explain why James won his first NBA championship in Miami.

As with anything so ubiquitous and relied upon, PowerPoint has bred its share of contempt.

Plug the name into Twitter and you’ll see workers bashing the soporific software in Korean, Arabic, Spanish, and English as each region starts its business day.

Part of this venting may stem from a lack of credible competition:

PowerPoint’s share of the presentation software market remains 95 percent, eclipsing relative newcomers Apple Keynote, Google Presentation, Prezi, and SlideRocket.  

Sometimes … PowerPoint slides …do more harm than good. They bore audiences with amateurish, antiquated animation and typefaces and distract speakers from focusing on the underlying structure of their creators’ speeches.

The best speakers at any corporate level today grip an audience by telling a story … The boldest among them do away with slides entirely 

Even if you’re a middle manager delivering financials to your department in slides, you’re telling a story. 

Many of the top presentation gurus advocate judiciously limiting the role of PowerPoint.

Edit by BJP

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Rick Perry’s CLT …

November 10, 2011

At B&D, there was an oft used expression”CLT”.

That stood for “Career Limiting Transaction”:

A gaffe or mistake that was so consequential that it was virtually certain to bring a manager’s career progress to a screeching halt, never to be restarted.

In last night’s debate, Gov. Rick Perry became the poster child for CLTs.

Warning: Whether you like the guy or not, this vid is painful to watch.

click to view


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Death by Powerpoint …

February 22, 2011

What not to do when you pitch …

Thanks to MM for feeding the lead.

What to do if your speech is bombing …

August 19, 2010

When speaking …

Here are the things you don’t want to do if you sense your audience is losing interest:

1. Speak faster to end the ordeal sooner.
2. Speak softer so they can’t hear how boring you are.
3. Ask “May I Have Your Attention Please”
4. Look pissed off, as if it’s the audience’s fault that you are boring.

The easiest way to regain the audience members’ interest is to address them by name, and ask simple questions:

• Shane, has that ever happened to you?
• Roberta, how have you handled these situations in your business?
• Sanjay, are the financial markets affecting the industry as much in your country as they are here in London?

Audience members for business presentations are no different than people in other social interactions. The more you get your date to talk at dinner, the more charming you will be perceived.

So it is with your presentations.

Source: How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation by T. J. Walker

Ten Public Speaking Do’s and Don’ts

August 18, 2010

DO the following:
1. Be interesting.
2. Be passionate.
3. Tell stories.
4. Give examples.
5. Cite case studies.
6. Look at the audience.
7. Let people ask questions anytime.
8. Tell people why they should care.
9. Move your head, hands and body.
10. Finish on time (or early)

DON’T do the following:
1. Read your speech.
2. Do a data dump.
3. Show complex slides with lots of words and small graphics.
4. Stare at your slides and avoid your audience.
5. Be abstract.
6. Use big, complex words.
7. Use Jargon.
8. Be monotone.
9. Be boring.
10. Go over your allotted time.

Source: How to Give a Pretty Good Presentation by T. J. Walker