[Advice] Leadership Through Pitching and Presenting

There are two times a leader has to be persuasive, has to pitch and present and leaders are typically good at one and poor at the other:

In a small group: Small groups (anywhere between 2 people and 10 people) are groups where leaders can either shine or fail based upon their own personal hang-ups, tics, and character traits. If a leader connects warmly with a handshake (increasing cooperation) and makes eye contact (in the Western world at least) they tend to be able to navigate the small group interactions and can easily dominate the conversation.

In a small group though, the delicate balance is between speaking too much (pitching) and not listening enough. This is a discipline that bears out its presence in the ultimate small group presentation, the meeting. Most meetings represent a poor use of organizational resources because the same traits that guided the leader in even smaller groups, fail when the group grows larger.

In a large group: Large groups (anywhere between 10 people up to massive stadiums of people) are the places where leaders (like many other folks) sometimes try to “scale up” the skills that make them formidable in a one-on-one environment and they fail. This is also the place where leaders lean in on using tools to mask their inexperience, their nervousness, or their lack of knowledge/interest/passion about a subject. The reason that political leaders do well at presenting to large groups and many corporate leaders don’t is that political leaders are naturally able to “fake it until they make it” and project that passion onto the crow. Whereas hard charging, revenue-generating executives are secretly wondering why they have to do this “presenting thing” at all in the first place.

In a large group, the delicate balance is between presenting with passion and rambling on about a point. Presenting with passion is a discipline that can be coached, but the real problem is getting the leader’s ego out of the way, getting the leader into a stance of learning and then preparing the leader to succeed. And letting the props, the slides, and the crutches fall by the way side.

Ever manager, supervisor, and even employee should be taught how to connect in a small group to other people, by using the skills of active listening, active engaging, eye contact, and paraphrasing. Every manager and supervisor and even employee should be taught how to connect with a much larger group (either a meeting sized group or a larger group) by using the skills of tapping into their passion and energy, knowing their subject inside and out and using tools like Powerpoint as aids, not crutches.

But too many organizational leaders don’t spend time preparing for presentations, don’t think that such preparation is necessary (except at the point of actually having to present) and many organizational leaders look at such training as another “nice to have” but not a “critical to succeed.”

In a world of instant information (and sometimes instant wrong information about organizations) leaders need to change their thinking, or someone else will change the audience’s thinking about their organization, for them first.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Advice] How to Make an Image Quote

Then, there are visual quotes.

One of the few remarked upon trends in social media (started on Facebook way back in the good old days of 2006-2007) is the overwhelming presence—and virality—of visualized quotes attributed to famous (and not so famous) people.

As we stated on Monday, the Internet is evolving into a medium of seeing and hearing, versus reading and as such, the words of a person (preferably a famous one, we might add) strike a cord with individual followers as visual images.

Many peacebuilders, bloggers and others don’t even think that a quippy line in a blog post can gain some sought after viral traction through the process of creating an image based quote.

There are three tools that the typical peacebuilding blogger can use to create these images:

  • Canva— For the peacebuilding blogger with an intermediate level of comfort and brand knowledge, Canva.com is the best resource right now on the Internet. The platform is the web based photo editing and design system that allows anybody to upload a photo, slap some text over it (or next to it) and then download it as a JPG, or PNG, file. There are about 50 different fonts inside of Canva, along with vector images, different color backgrounds, and even preformatted text images. Plus, it’s backed by the venture capitalist and brand evangelist Guy Kawasaki.
  • Adobe Photoshop—For peacebuilding bloggers with a little more range in their toolbox (and the time to get image manipulation done) the old stand-by is Photoshop. Now exclusively subscription and cloud based, Photoshop is so deep and so rich with tools for photo editing, layering, filtering and designing that we can’t describe them all here. Plus, with Adobe’s move to being all cloud based, storage of large image files just became less cost prohibitive along with increased security and access for the end-user. Just go check them out.
  • Powerpoint + Stock photography—For the peacebuilding blogger who looks at Canva and gets overwhelmed, or for the peacebuilder who can’t even begin to imagine navigating the intricacies of any programs in the Adobe Suite of products, there is the wonder of Powerpoint. Now hear us out: Inside of Powerpoint, one has the ability to upload stock photos, edit out backgrounds and add in other backgrounds, and to add text. It’s a simple and user friendly addition to the Powerpoint list of tools, and with Office 365 being web-based now, as well as Windows 10 coming, Powerpoint is only going to get richer as a tool for designers.

The real question, of course is “What if I don’t have anything inspiring, quippy, or even relatively smart to turn into a quote for my audience to spread around?”

The answer to that question is, “Then don’t create an image quote.”

But, here’s the thing: Eventually, after about 6 to 8 months of steady blogging, we absolutely guarantee that you will turn a phrase worthy of being put next to your face and worthy of being shared around social media platforms.

-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: jsorrells@hsconsultingandtraining.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/

[Strategy] Death By Powerpoint

Multiple skills are required to be successful as a conflict resolution consultant, but none are as important as presenting and pitching.

Corporations, non-profits and other groups are used to presenting using Powerpoint as a way to anchor their points.

We’ve all been through the presentation that was similar to dying by a thousand cuts, when Powerpoint (or FlipChart, if you prefer) is misused with piles of text, a mish-mosh of images and a lack of successful communication.

There are three simple rules for avoiding death by presentation boredom, which we didn’t pioneer, but that we use in our presentations, whether we use Powerpoint, FlipChart or even Prezi.com:

  • 10 slides in a deck = 15 to 20 minutes of presentation material
  • 3 bullet points at 30 point font size so that even the eyes in the back can see the bullet points
  • 1 image per slide, because anything more is confusing and disorienting.

As a consultant, the Zen of presentation comes about when you know your stuff, and can convince a group of people who think that they know your stuff, that you know it infinitely better than they think you do.

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-Peace Be With You All-

Jesan Sorrells, MA

Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: hsconsultingandtraining@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HSConsultingandTraining
Twitter: www.twitter.com/Sorrells79
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jesansorrells/