Tuesday, 17 February 2009


Making something happen rather than moaning has always been good advice.

Here’s one way.

Every Panasonic employee has been told to go out and buy a Panasonic plasma TV – that’ll get sales momentum going.

Back in the ‘90s in a recession every employee was sent out on the road to sell whilst in Japan they did door to door calling on consumers to sell product and to change light bulbs and fuses for free.

What have you done today to make something positive happen?

Monday, 16 February 2009


I believe in professionalism

I believe presenting has never been more important than in the current business climate.

More judgements are made on the basis of a presentation than ever, whether it is to a bank, a stakeholder, your peers or a boss. And the quality of a presentational performance is as important as its content.

Whatever do you look like? It’s inconceivable that you’d go along to an important meeting wearing a crumpled, shiny blue suit, a jazzy green and red kipper tie, scuffed shoes and a curry stained shirt (or if you are a woman that you’d wear a crumpled dress with laddered tights).

Yet the Les Pattersons of the presentation world abound. People who have no shame in having poorly produced, overly complex slides and a badly thought through, crumpled argument. They are going to suffer in a world that is getting more demanding.

Spot the difference

Whilst you don’t want to be remembered as a punk presenter nor do you want to be forgotten as someone who has done a completely unmemorable presentation. In a world where PowerPoint bullet point slides have become a well understood business-language it is your job, in the world of presentations, to stand out from the throng. Not as an eccentric but as someone who is mainstream with a little more polish and accomplishment.

The medium is the message

Marshall McLuan coined this phrase forty four years ago. He described the style of a piece of communication as a piece of juicy meat a burglar carries to distract the watchdog of the mind. In other words great presentations lull people into agreeing.

If you are going to do a presentation the harsh reality is a professional slide maker will do a better job than you, an amateur. This does not mean you have to spend a fortune; just an appropriate sum for an important message in an important medium. Because does this, as an alternative, sound clever to you?

“The interview went brilliantly until it came to the presentation.”

OK. I’m sold

It is becoming increasingly common for anyone being interviewed for a job to be asked to do a presentation. I’ve sat on interview boards hearing an excellent candidate – good CV, impressive credentials and skills losing to a weaker candidate on the strength of their presentation skills.

Quite simply many interviewers make their judgements on the sales and presenting skills of a candidate on the day in question and not based on their lifetime of learning. Presenting well is the difference between success and failure and between employment and unemployment.

This is showtime. We are not talking about a quick haircut here. We are talking about making sure we understand all the components of a good presentation and that we have them all in balance.

What is the context of the presentation, what is the key argument, what are the powerful words, phrases and messages that will “sell” the argument, how will we give special and memorable colour to the communication, how will the slides look professional and have stand-out but without being too slick and how can we perform the presentation so it is remarkable and compelling?

In today’s world being “good enough” at presenting is just not good enough.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Jim Rogers went to Balliol so he can’t be all bad.

But last week he told the world that sterling was finished, to sell the pound and that Britain was bankrupt.

It was all rather depressing.

Especially as Jim’s an exceeding rich and successful person and a one time colleague of George Soros.

So he should know.

Yet apparently this is the man who told us a couple of years ago to invest in Zimbabwe.

This piece of news about him cheered me enormously.

Britain is not finished but some of its aspirations are and thank heavens for that.

  1. We are not a Premier League country any more.
  2. Britain sounds great without the Great
  3. Can we stop giving our money away to Overseas Development – we don’t have much left
  4. Can we have a sensible conversation about the Olympics?
  5. Can we invest in a 21st century manufacturing/innovation economy?
  6. Can we stop trying to keep the terminally ill companies alive that have no future?
  7. Can we get an SAS economic squad together to resuscitate the ones in peril that we need to keep by taking smart people out of retirement if necessary to help them?
  8. And can we stop paying stupid fees to advisers? I heard about a consulting firm who claimed they had to charge large fees as their overheads were so high. Ironically their first name is “Price”.

Britain will be fine.

All it needs is for us to be resourceful, innovative and energetic and – this is the real key – stop listening to the doom mongers….Jim Rogers is wrong (again).