E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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The Business Value of Serendipity: Improving Your Presentation Skills

Gran Canaria - On the Way to ArtenaraYou gotta love serendipity, specially, when it is facilitated serendipity coming through to you, as if by magic, through your multiple daily interactions with your social networks, whether internal or external. Earlier on today, I had plans to put together a blog post on the topic of finding experts, referencing this superb piece at WSJ’s “Who Knows What?“; however, those plans have now been parked for the day thanks to a wonderful internal status update shared by my fellow IBM colleague James Taylor with a clear reminder on something I’m going to find incredibly helpful next week when I embark on a presentation frenzy at conference events and customer meetings. Yes, of course, I am talking about learning plenty more about killer presentation skills.

That’s right! Earlier on today, my good friend James shared a couple of updates (One of them external) talking about a “superb tech talk” on “presentation skills” where he shared an Intranet link to some really fascinating resources around Presentation Zen. I am not sure whether the slides would be available out there for public consumption or not, but in one of them there was a link to one of those short YouTube video clips that one cannot but help find it incredibly resourceful in trying to figure out further how to fine tune your own presentation skills. So, seeing how much I’m going to need it for the next few days, I thought I would go ahead and share a couple of resources on this very same topic, and I will leave that other blog entry on “Finding Experts” for a later time this week.

If you have got a bit over 7 minutes to spare, I can surely encourage you all to have a look into this YouTube video under the title “Killer Presentations Skills“, which, funny enough, is nearly 5 years old!, but still wonderfully accurate on the state of not just “Death by PowerPoint“, but overall presentation skills in general. In it, you will see J. Douglas Jefferys spending a few minutes covering some of the Dos and Don’ts of delivering presentations successfully, whether at conference events, or with your customers. And although yours truly has been doing quite a few of those events already, over the course of the years, there is always plenty of room to learn more! If anything, it is always a learning experience! I don’t think I have ever delivered the same presentation with the same speech twice; ever. They always evolve. You evolve. You learn new things you then try to incorporate along the way, hoping to eventually improve your ability to deliver the right messages accordingly to the right audience(s).

Even for seasoned speakers it would still be a rather helpful resource on improving their own skills in this area. So when I bumped into the video clip I just couldn’t help, but watching it through in its entirety and, must confess, that not only did I find it incredibly funny and entertaining, which is perhaps one of the most effective and powerful methods of delivering a speech successfully to whatever the audience, even smaller ones!, touching base on the whole concept of having fun@work, but I learned a couple of tricks as well! Thus I thought I would share the embedded code over here of the video, so you, too, would have an opportunity to play it along, and perhaps it may help you learn new hints and tips for that upcoming presentation you may not have even started just yet! Here it is:


I am sure you may have found it quite an interesting watch-through, worth while sharing across as well. Here is a shorter video clip from JD along those very same lines. But the beauty of this serendipitous knowledge re-discovery is that it surely helps open up the door to re-findability. Yes, that’s right, while I was watching the video I couldn’t stop thinking about that brilliant presentation that Alexei Kapterev put together over 4 years ago! under the rather suggestive title “Death by PowerPoint (and how to fight it)“, which is probably one of those fundamental bibles that one needs to always keep at hand whenever you are working on a new presentation. Thus why not add it over here as well, right?, and share it across as a good reminder for us all:

Not too bad for this blog post to have originated as an accidental discovery, right? And then people keep telling me that they don’t see the business value of using Status Updates, Activity Streams, Microblogging, Microsharing or whatever other fancy term to go along with one of my favourite quotes as of late: “narrate your work; it will make you smarter. And everyone else, too!

What are your favourite tips on improving your own presentation skills? The Dos and Don’ts that have worked with you very well over the course of time? I will let you know about a couple of mine: 1. Prepare, prepare and prepare some more, in advance, for relevancy and 2. Be yourself! Be spontaneous, don’t pretend to be who you are not. It won’t work neither for you nor your audience! 🙂

So, what else? What are your best tips? Let’s hear, errr, I mean, read them in the comments …

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  1. Great stuff, Luis. I don’t have anything to say about presentation skills at the moment, other than to agree with the two presenters you’ve resurrected for us. Thanks!

    As far as serendipity goes, I just had a moment of rediscovery myself about two weeks ago while going through some of my graphics files. I found a screen shot I grabbed to document something that happened a couple years ago while I was still with my old company. The feeling I had when I made the screen capture came back and I wrote a blog about corporate stupidity. It was great; having the feeling come back and being able to capture it, that is.

    This, in turn, has brought back a few other examples of stupidity I’m preparing to write about as well. It’s nice to be able to live up to my self-anointed title of Chief Serendipity Wrangler!

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