4 Mar 2015

How to present at a management fest?

Management fests in colleges are quite common. I happened to be a judge at a fest last week. It was in St. Stephens College, Hyderabad and the contest was called 'Pitch Perfect'. 9 teams from all over India were given a topic and given an hour to prepare. They had to come and present their suggestions (a PPT) in 5 minutes. A tough task for various reasons:

1. Limited time to prepare
2. Limited time to present

Impressing the judges was the toughest job. As a judge, I realised, after a PPT ended I was hardly able to recall what the team had spoken about. I could remember just 2 to 3 things. After each pitch ended, I had to rate the team on the required parameters. So the crux for every team was to make an impact within those 5 minutes and ensure the judges were able to remember some of the stuff they spoke about.

So what can you do, if you are tomorrow in the same situation?
How should you present?

Less Content, More Impact

Less Content: Force yourself to share very few things in your 5 minute presentation. Depending on the task at hand, figure out what will make you win. In this case, the teams had to present a 3 month long advertising campaign to promote a new movie. If you say too many things, the judge will not remember. If you suggest 2 or 3 very innovative ideas, that's enough. Come up with something really good and then let that shine through. Do not cloud and clutter your good idea by sharing 9 more ideas.

More Impact: Try to make sense overall. Do not go too fast, because time is less. Having 5 minutes does not mean you will fit in more stuff. The reason you have less time, is that the judges want you to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Do not...
1. Do not have long list of bullet points on each slide.

2. Do not fill your slides with text.
Since you do not have time for visuals (students were given less time and had no access to internet), keep the slides very light on text. Less text is better. Have few words on each slide.

3. Do not have too many slides.
Since the time is less, do not waste it on making PPT. What the judge is looking for is quality content and not 7 PPT slides. Just have the topic header on each slide. Once the slide comes up, start talking. You can carry notes, as you did not have time to rehearse.

4. Do not go without a wireless presenter. None of the teams had a presenter that day. Thus they ended up saying 'next slide please' to the organiser every 45 seconds.

5. Do not speak too fast.

Remember, less content and more impact. All the best.

28 Jan 2015

Us vs. Them

You have gone to make a pitch.

You will surely talk about your company and its credentials. You may start with the basic information, the offices you have around the world. Then talk about the business you are in and its various verticals. Then talk about the clients you serve and some testimonials.

You will eventually talk about the client. How can you help them? You understand their business and know their problems. You are the right resource. Aren't you?

How much time do you talk about yourself and how much time you talk about the client?
Cut down drastically on the time you spend on yourself. The client is not interesting beyond a few basic things. You are good that's why you are there. Finish talking about yourself and focus on the client and their problems.

Less: About Us
More: About Them

16 Jan 2015

Happy Birthday... 6 years!

My blog has turned 6.

I started blogging in January 2009 after I had quit my job.
I took up another job, life got busier but I kept going.

6 years later, I have 518 posts and 1.3 million views.
I also have advertisers :)

It's an awesome feeling.

Today, I am again in a similar situation. I have quit my job and starting on my own; as a marketing consultant and a presentation architect. The blog gives me confidence as I move into the unknown future. 

Thanks for reading, thank for sharing and thanks for advertising.
Thank for liking my stuff, writing to me and all the encouragement.

To read some of the best stuff from my blog, click here.

Book Review: Dan Roam's 'Show & Tell'

I have read more than 10 books on presentations so far and do not wish to read any more in the near future. It is better to implement what one has learnt than keep reading new stuff. Having said that, I got hold of this book for free. Could not resist buying it (I mean it was free!).

I did read the book. I have read Dan Roam beforeThe book is quite simple, nice and very fast to read.

Here is the crux of the book:

How can you make extraordinary presentations?

Tell the truth
Tell it with a story
Tell the story with pictures

We deliver a report, a pitch or a presentation so that the audience sees the things the way we do. A normal presenter shares data. A good presenter changes what you know. A great presenter changes what you believe.

If we follow these three rules, we will achieve our objective. How?

When we tell the truth - we connect with our audience, we become passionate and we find tremendous self confidence. Our fear comes down. We remember what to say and we are more convincing.

When we tell it with a story - we are able to make complex things simple, we make our ideas memorable and we appeal to everyone. We are understood by everyone and they remember what we said (stories have high recall).

When we tell our story with pictures - we communicate clearly and there is no confusion. We captivate our audience and we remove boredom.

To figure out how you will implement these, do read the book.
Ratings: **** (4/5)

9 Jan 2015

Ban these words from your presentation

Here is a list of words which are losing their meaning because we have started using these too liberally. In this new year let us say no to these:

World Class
State of the art
Leading brand
360 Degree Marketing
Proven Track Record
Experienced Faculty
Extensive Research
In-Depth Knowledge
Rich & Proven Experience
Dynamic Personality

Which other words / phrases would you like to add to this list?

2 Jan 2015

Design Tips from a Visiting Card

I have started my own consulting business and one of the first things I needed to have was a business card. Instead of designing on my own, I chose a website this time. After I chose the layout and typed my content, I came across some good tips about design.

Please check the following:

1. Information is accurate and spelled correctly
2. Text is legible and contrasts against the background
3. Images are clear and don't appear blurry
4. Nothing is overlapping and close to the margins

I found these tips really useful. Use these as a check-list after you have designed your slides.

Is my information accurate?
Are there any spelling mistakes?
Is my text legible?
Is the text colour contrasting well with the slide background?
Is my image pixellated (blurred)? Usually happens when we use low resolution images
Is my text/ image overlapping anywhere?

Here is the visiting card:

1 Jan 2015

New Year... a New Beginning

Dear friends and readers,

This new year has brought something completely new for me. I have resigned from my job as the marketing head of a consumer goods company and have decided to consult companies full time.

Yes, I am now a full time independent marketing consultant who will help clients across the world make better presentations, market their stuff and build awesome brands.

Happy New Year. Have fun this new year.