Monday, 7 November 2011


Why presenting well is worth more than an MBA today

We are declaring “death to boring” in presentations wherever they happen – whether to the public, to employees, to colleagues or to investors. Dull is dead. Welcome to world of engagement and entertainment.
This new world of presenting involves a series of realisations. That the audience is always right and they’re all that matters. That jargon is out. That conversation is in and rhetoric is out. And that the long-fangled speech has been replaced by the 12 minute chat.

TED has been a major influence on this. TED as you probably know and if you don’t ( is an American not-for-profit dedicated to having good guys standing up and spreading ideas worth spreading. It has inspired some of the best speeches/presentations I’ve seen.

But it doesn’t stop here. We had that great “pitcher” of new products, Steve Jobs. We have 5x15 in the UK.(a  similar concept to TED.)  All over the place we’re seeing “keynotes”, conferences and debates.

Speaking in public is big news right now.

Vivid opinion and engagement is in. Dull ideology and company policy is out. We’ve created a world where people are standing up and talking. But that’s really, really hard to do well. You need coaching. You need confidence. And you need to be great. The word “competent” doesn’t exist in this tough world. You are brilliant or you’re  forgotten.

It really is just a fifteen minute opportunity.

My new book Brilliant Presentation (now in its 3rd Edition) published by Pearson (the one with the BLUE cover) describes this world and how to win in it. It takes you through the world of presenting and concludes:
Slides still work – if done really well. Bullet Point is a problem unless you are a bully and want to be seen as such. The big message is about storytelling. In the rush to PowerPoint (of which I remain a fan –when it’s used well) we forgot the primal art.

2011 and beyond will demand an ececutive doing more than just standing up there spouting numbers. He’s expected to have a strong narrative flow, lots of colour, anecdotes (research is not enough), what people want to know is what really lies behind the numbers, how the heartbeat of the business feels. In short he’s expected to be an engaging – no more than that - an enthralling teller of the story he’s directing.

The art of presenting has never been more important. 
It’s really much more important than that MBA.
It’s career defining.

Brilliant Presentation 3rd Edition (Blue Cover – just out)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll be buying this latest edition soon. Your advice turned me from being a rather nervous and timid presenter into someone who can "work the room" I've been told. It totally transformed the way I approach presentations and I'm so glad I bought your book! Gxx