Posts Tagged 'Powerpoint'

Creating a vision – the role of a leader

In the first few chapters of Animal Farm, the reader is drawn in to the vision that Old Major sets for the animals before he dies. A vision where the evils of the animal’s life can change through the removal of man, a vision that has the animals thinking about being rich and free, a vision that stirs the emotions of the animals, a vision that the animals buy in to and act on.

Taking a corporate perspective of Old Major’s vision there are elements of his final speech that would make many a CEO proud;
– It’s a clear message that creates a vision of a better farm/ workplace
– It makes it clear who the enemy/competition is – who needs to be beaten
– It outlines what need to be done to achieve the rewards they want
– It is communicated by a respected pig/ leader
– It uses language that the various animals/ staff can relate to and understand
– It uses imagery that the animals can visualise, smell and taste
– It is backed up by an anthem that stirs the emotions

For those of you that know the story, Old Major died soon after setting this vision and it was picked up by the self-appointed new leader Napoleon. As the story unfolds and Napoleon puts his only particular angle on the vision and how it should be implemented, it becomes apparent that there were elements of Old Major’s original vision that were missing.

The original vision left a lot of questions unanswered. It appealed to the animals on the basis that they were unhappy with their present situation and wanted it to change. The vision presented to them sounded like an idyll yet it lacked substance and a sense of realism (ok, I know I am questioning the vision created by talking and reading animals). Whilst the animals hung on to the vision for some time and sang the animal/ company anthem there was great scope for interpretation and it became obvious that some of the animals were less committed than others.

In organisations it seems that so often the same thing happens. The CEO and leadership team create a vision, they may then invest in a process to communicate this to all staff and then it goes off the rails.

As we see in Animal Farm a vision is only of use if it can engage staff on an ongoing basis in the things that need to be done to achieve the future state. It also has to have a level of substance and reality that makes it achievable and real to all who need to play a part in making it happen. Creating and committing to the vision should be a long and focused activity that goes beyond the vision launch communication activities and is built-in to aspects of all communication and leadership.

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Ponderings on the future of presentations

I was at a conference recently and I ended up pondering that we’re at a really interesting stage in terms of what we expect from presenters or speakers and what presentations have to offer.

Over the 3 days at this conference there were some large group sessions with over 300 people in the room and some smaller sessions with 30 – 40 people gathered together. There were big name International and Australian speakers as well as a few relatively unknown industry specific speakers. Seeing these different presenters had me thinking that the world of presentations is definitely changing; the question for me is what next?

Storytelling
Over the last few years the impact of storytelling has been an area of focus for leaders and presenters. There are some people who do it superbly, with humour, emotion and a great tale to tell.

My pondering – will this become too formulaic as more people cotton on to the fact that storytelling is both powerful and topical?

Use of technology
In the last 15 or so years the technology that accompanies presenting has changed enormously. A few of you will remember the days of overhead projectors and scribbled on acetates. Can you imagine sitting through a presentation using that now? Instead there are so many options open to us – with such things as Prezi, you tube and animated media bringing presentations to life

My pondering – will the use of imaginative and gimmicky technology take over from the message?

Added extra – Swiss politician Matthias Poehm has set up The Anti-PowerPoint party. He asserts that PowerPoint presentations are actually costing the Swiss economy billions of dollars

The presenter
More demands are being put on the style of the presenter. Once they needed to stand behind a podium, use their overhead projector and say what they need to say. With storytelling and technology this has changed and it seems that the presenter needs to be comedian, actor and expert all wrapped in to one package.

My pondering – will style take over from substance?

Without doubt the future for presentations and presenters is changing. Any ideas on what it will take to present a clear message well in the next 10 years are welcome