The calvary isn’t coming

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SXSW wrapped up a little over a week ago and this marked the second consecutive year that I wasn’t able to make it down to Austin. Changing jobs and having a kid will do things like that. Even though I wasn’t there, I have been trying to catch up on presentations and keynotes from the conference. One speaker from SXSW 2015 that I particularly enjoyed was filmmaker and actor Mark Duplass. Continue reading

confessions of a public speaking convert

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Until a few years ago I hadn’t been one to embrace public speaking, and it’s mainly because I don’t necessarily strive to be in the center of attention. I like being a part of activities or work or events that are very public, like producing concerts or being a radio host or creating marketing campaigns, but I get more enjoyment when I am behind the scenes. Continue reading

it’s not always what you say, but how you say it

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Last week, a co-worker and I met up with a former Best Buy colleague to grab a drink and catch up.  When he worked at our office, our former colleague was known as one of the best presenters in the department.  He had a knack for being able to pull together seemingly disparate pieces of information and weave them together in a story that would be insightful and easily understood.  If you wanted to get feedback on a presentation, then this was the guy you wanted to know.  To this day I still keep an archive of some of his PowerPoint decks on the desktop of my computer.

Now he works for one of the big three consulting firms and over happy hour he told us about the crazy amount of resources that consulting firms have on hand to support the creation of PowerPoint presentations.  If you are looking for a particular slide template, just dig into their humongous  archive.  If you need some number crunching done on an Excel document (that has thousands of lines of data) to help prove a point, then you just get the analytics team to run the numbers (which they can do in their sleep) and turn around in no time at all.  If you need someone to clean up the presentation and perfect the timing for all of the animations, then hand it off to the team whose entire role is just to produce client facing PowerPoint files.  On the surface it seems pretty wild that companies have teams that are dedicated to cranking out that kind of work, but it makes sense when you realize that some of the primary outputs for big time consulting firms are presentations and recommendations. Continue reading