Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pace matters. A lot.

Chicago has long been a great town for theatrical performances of all kinds. From improv to musicals to drama and the avant garde, the 2nd city ain't too shabby. With that in mind we were very excited to welcome the highly acclaimed, London-based, technical marvel that is "Peter Pan". This show uses the as-expected high-wire flying rigs, but it also features the first ever 360-degree, 3D video projection.

While we found most of this wizardry quite cool, the show itself was, well, just okay. At best! In fact, it was actually fairly awful. The acting was fine, the costumes cool, the staging remarkable. So, why was it just okay?

In a word—PACE.

We we bored to death. Some scenes were far too long to hold our interest, others simply too bogged down with details that we didn't get.

The pace may have been right for some people—I'm thinking of the dead in particular—but for those of us still very much alive, please, SPEED IT UP ALREADY!

This is a great lesson for anyone doing a presentation. Remember, it's not just what you say, it's how you say it. If your delivery pace is numbing, people will not receive the message. In fact, they'll be so preoccupied and focused on your pace (or lack thereof) they'll never hear a word.

So, take it from a kid who never grew up, PACE MATTERS. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

How many people to make a 'presentation'?

At SquarePlanet you'll hear us say things like, "whether it's one person, one hundred or one thousand, a presentation is a presentation—don't blow the opportunity!"

Now only do we believe it, we actually live it.

Today we did an important presentation to ONE person.
There were no microphones.
No rows of neatly organized chairs.
No name badges.
No, it was just us and him—person to person.

Does that mean the stakes were any less? Does that mean we needed to be 'less' prepared?

Obviously the answer to both of those questions is a resounding NO. The person happened to be the CEO and founder of a very large, very successful healthcare company and the projects and dollars discussed were substantial. The lesson is very simple, whether you're presenting to an audience of one or one thousand, you only have one shot to nail it.

Time will tell if our presentation today achieved the desired result—a signed contract. What we know already is that our attention in advance of the one-to-one presentation was necessary.

Additionally, throughout our meeting we strove for deep authenticity of who we are and what we believe. We shared examples of a highly personal nature. We told our message in a simple, easily understood way. And we left a lot for the next time—we showed real restraint.

You have got to walk the talk, folks! Not only is the right thing to do, it's the right technique to do. If your presentations aren't achieving the desired result, then Change Your Orbit. Thanks gang.