How Do You Know Your Presentation is Going Well?

It is very challenging to present to a small group of people who see a lot of presentations.  Here's the first sign you are doing well:  No one checks their email on their phone.  Aa

I was once giving a presentation and half way through, one person got up, went into the corner and hopped onto a conference call.  Fortunately for him, there were no heavy objects nearby. 

It is up to you to engage your audience.  Here's what I've found to be effective:
- Never present in the front, always sit with your audience.  That way you can quickly pick up if they are getting bored or have a question.
- Never have more than 10 words on a slide.  This forces you to know your material very well and engage in a discussion with your audience.
- Always tell a story.  I think of them as the handles on the suitcase of your idea.  Stories have many more connection points than a slide full of text.
- Toss half of your slides.  Well, not really toss, but put them at the back of the presentation to answer questions. 

Good presentations revolve around conversations that are relevant and of interest to your audience.  And engaged people don't check their email.

Current U.S. examples of Public Option, Single Payer and Socialized Medicine

As a marketing person I get a kick how people mangle semantics, especially when talking about health care reform.  So here are some simple definitions and examples where this is being used in the U.S. today:

Public Option:  In essence a government entity set ups a competitive insurance carrier.  After being setup, the taxpayers are paid back and the entity runs on its own.  Both New Mexico and Utah (there may be more) have already done this years ago for workers compensation.   The state legislatures set these companies up to drive down the cost through competition.

Single Payer: In this case, the government acts as the insurance carrier, collects premiums and uses private business to deliver the health care.  Medicare is an example of this.

Socialized Medicine:  Here the government runs everything.  They collect the money, build the hospitals and clinics and hire the doctors.  The Veterans Administration is an example of this.

As you can see, we have all three examples running currently.  So when we discuss health care reform, let's understand what the words mean.

Johnson & Johnson Motrin Opportunity

Kathy Widmer has the attention of social media in just a couple of daysAa Ouch!   Of course it's kind of like the attention you get showing up to a black tie event wearing shorts and flip flops.    Kathy did apologize but instead of shuffling off to the side of the room, here is an opportunity to engage with the angry people.   

Time to start a conversation with these people.   Get their insight.  Better yet collect YouTube videos from the moms and  display them in a collage talking about issues that are important or not.

Or she could sit meekly in the corner waiting for this to blow over.  Which would be a shame.

After the Acquisition, Talk to the Sales Group....Please

When you're putting together your product roadmap, sometimes it is better to license / acquire a technology rather than build it.   Looks good on paper, much harder in the execution.   You need to build a compelling case for sales to actually offer the product to your customers.

Which could be rough.

A You see, the sales people have quotas and make good bonuses / commissions based on hitting those goals.   So you need to make sure you can a) make the case for the new product in meeting their goals and b) make sure they have all the tools necessary.

I saw this not happen years ago after Novell acquired Unix and other products.   The sales group only knew how to sell NetWare boxes through 2 tier distribution and not how to engage end customers directly.  A few years later those product lines were sold to other companies at a significant loss.

Just last week I had a similar experience after I downloaded a paper on an acquired technology from an email company.   Sales followed up with me after two days and tried to sell me on their mainstream product, not the new one I had asked. 

And that is product marketing's problem.

Presentations: 3 points 8 minutes

I'm working with a company that has no Power Point presentations.   Nowhere.   But they get a lot done. 


Because they only focus on 3 things at a time.  And everyone can talk about those three points.  Let's face it, it's difficult to recall much of anything from a complicated presentation.   But trying to say what you're trying to get across in 3 points and 8 minutes is hard.


If it was easy I wouldn't be writing this post.   So here's how to go about doing this.   Think about your audience, who they are, why they are listening to you in the first place.  Then think about these people and what you want them to remember 1 week and 1 month from now.  Those are your three points.

Next figure out how to get those points to stick in 8 minutes.   My favorite technique is to tell stories.  People tend to recall stories better than facts.    I forget people's name, but I always remember their stories.

So turn off the phones, kill the email, and think about those three points.  You'll have much more effective presentations and people will remember what you said.

PSA: Public Service Announcement

It's election year in the US and the spin is getting louder.   Being good marketeers we like to put our best foot forward and that foot should be based in fact.   In politics........well sometimes facts seem to be optional.    I suggest everyone subscribe to the RSS feed of    Aa They try to take a very scientific look at what the candidates are saying.

For instance today they posted "The Budget According to McCain: Part I".   

McCain's attempt to conflate earmark reform with budget cuts is a bit of logical sleight-of-hand (a formal logical fallacy that philosophers call an undistributed middle). McCain's argument is that:

  1. The McCain economic plan will cut $100 billion of the discretionary budget.
  2. Past and present earmarks account for $100 billion of the discretionary budget.
  3. Therefore, the McCain economic plan will cut past and present earmarks.

The argument is seductive. But consider another argument that has exactly the same logical structure:

  1. Clouds are white and fluffy.
  2. Sheep are white and fluffy.
  3. Therefore, clouds are sheep.

Sheep and clouds have some properties in common, but that doesn't mean that they are the same thing. Similarly, earmark cuts and budget cuts may add up to the same totals, but that doesn't mean that the budget cuts will be the result of earmark cuts.

Now that's great analysis.  So do yourself a favor, get involved, stay informed and check the facts.

Time Out! for Panasonic's "It's Time For Some Viera Time"

Viera looks like a great HD TV.   I saw a commercial yesterday for it and it confused me a lot.   It started off with a family too busy to spend time with each other.

The solution?  A Viera TV.  So far so good.  As they say:

Spend some Viera time with your friends and family.

Aa Then they  show me why this will happen.  Because they have an SD memory slot and remote control.

Yup, a memory slot will bring your family together.

Today's advice, leave engineering at home when you're working on your creative.

NewsFlash: Women Buy Stuff

This is not a PC post, but it just irks me how in sales and customer service how poorly women are treated.   Like the time my daughter wanted to show me a new car she had researched.   She asked all the questions and the sales jerks only talked to me.   Needless to say they lost the sale.

Read the Soccer Mom Myth.

I also despise demographics.   Let's say 80% of your demographic has a certain behavior.  That means 20% does not.  And, here's the most important point, no demographic applies to a single individual.  And we work with individuals don't we?

Today's quiz.   We have a 79 single woman living in a trailer in the South West.   She makes her buying decisions based on:
1) newspaper ads
2) direct mail campaigns
3) WOM through the Internet

If you said 3 you were correct.   So think very hard next time you make an assumption and listen to and get to know each individual.