Wednesday 31 October 2018

Simplify Your Slides To Enhance Your Presentations - Guest post by Michael Dodd

This is a guest post by my friend and colleague Michael Dodd, and HT to friend and colleague of us both Derek Willians who features.

Imagine you’re told that a great guru has something vital to tell you.

The guru lives at the top of a mountain – as gurus do.

You cross deserts and crocodile-infested rivers before climbing the rugged slopes to reach him.

Finally you meet.

But instead of looking you in the eye and spouting wisdom, the guru holds up a big sheet of cardboard with lots of tiny writing on it.

He expects you to read all the words.

This is difficult because, while you try to decipher the meaning, the guru looks at the cardboard himself and simultaneously seeks to explain it.

You don’t know whether to focus on what the guru says or the written words.

Eventually you give up trying to read – and give up listening to the guru.

By now you don’t think he really is a guru – and you’re almost asleep.


Alas this experience is much the same as when you sit through a poorly planned presentation with a bad set of wordy slides.

Presenters who do the equivalent of this to their unfortunate audiences may know masses of useful stuff.

But little enlightenment usually takes place – and, in the end, such presenters undermine their status as potential gurus.

This happens with particular frequency to audiences in high-tech industries.

I know because I’m increasingly asked by those in high tech industries to rescue them and their unfortunate audiences.

It’s a pleasure and privilege to do so, especially as technical experts frequently prove to be quick, keen and delightful improvers with important things to say.

But while they’re not typically what you might call “natural” presenters, techy folk like to know useful formulae, quick tips and simple guidelines to put them on the right track – and they often surprise themselves with how well they can put it all into action.


Here’s the key tip for everyone who wants to avoid inflicting bad slide presentations upon their audiences.

Make your slides better by using fewer words and more pictures!

As a real guru on presentation might say: Too Many Bullet Points Kill.

Ask yourself, how many words are there on the front of a great movie poster that you remember – or a great book cover or a great pop album?

It’s very few.

A great slide can often help you get your message across in a similar way if it’s largely pictorial.

If you look closely at the picture below you can see a speaker showing slide of a movie poster with just one word – “Jaws”.

One emotive image (in this case a set of fierce set of shark teeth) enables a speaker to grab attention visually and say something verbally at the same time without overloading audience members and while looking directly at them.

If you need to convey a lot of factual information, make a self-contained written handout that everyone can read through afterwards when you’re not talking to them at the same time!!!

A good graphic slide doesn’t need to be self-contained, because you can add information verbally as it’s examined.

But a good handout must be self-contained, so it can be understood by audience members on the train or plane on the way home.

If the graphic slides in your presentation are memorable, audience members will understand the handout all the better.


Let me tell you about one single effective slide from a colleague in the Professional Speaking Association, Derek Williams.

Derek is a fantastically positive person who has built an organisation designed to give positive feedback to those who deserve it.

Rather than catching people doing things wrong – as so many do – Derek and his organisation catch people doing things right.

Derek also reckons many companies are more geared towards dealing with complaints than to receive praise.

In his presentations, Derek conveys this with just one slide.

It just takes a quick glance at the slide, with a short verbal explanation to get point!


Derek’s business is called “The WOW! Awards”.

It helps deserving organisations and their people to avoid the problem of too many complaints and not enough praise where its due.

This is good for morale, engagement and productivity.

There’s more at: the wow awards. 


If you want to know more, there’s a chance you can get a ticket to a hugely positive WOW! Awards ceremony at the Tower Of London on 30 November.

If you’re interested in taking advantage of this possibility, email:

Warning: there will be a lot of positive “wow” stories at the Tower.

This could be a shock to the Tower Of London itself, as the venue is better known for less positive things like hanging and torturing.

But it is a place of intriguing stories.

And stories should make up a chunk of what your presentation contains – ideally supported by largely pictorial slides, or no slides at all.

Telling the right stories or informing people about real life examples is a great way to enliven presentations.

If your team would benefit from knowing how to do this, you can book a keynote speech for your conference on “Becoming Inspirational Communicators”.

There’s more at:

And to ensure you and your team fascinate your audiences – rather than kill with too many bullet points – you can book master classes or one-to-one sessions on “Presenting With Confidence, Impact And Pizzazz”.

Details are at:

I'd also highly recommend Michael's great book. 

Free chapter and more here.

Monday 29 October 2018

The big power of small to medium sized businesses

The following describes what Mittlestand, or small to medium businesses stand for. Learn more about Mittlestand and my source.

Family ownership or family-like corporate culture
Generational continuity
Long-term focus
Emotional attachment
Investment into the workforce
Lean hierarchies
Customer focus
Social responsibility
Strong regional ties

My clients reflect the above. It's why I love them.

When I work with listed companies I want to see these characteristics.

My belief is simple: profit is not a reason for being in business, rather a result of being good at business.

My clients put people first and shareholders last. After all shareholder wealth is a result not a reason.

Be remarkable.

Like some help in applying the principle/s in this post in your own best way?

Choose a presentation/conversation/mentoring package.

Speak with me about a 1:1/group mentoring program.

Speak with me about a mentoring your mentors program.

Friday 26 October 2018

What if it's jobs not people being made redundant?

I love this headline:

In the future of work it's jobs, not people,
that will become redundant

Read the full article by Leena Nair Chief Human Resources Officer, Unilever.

Hat tip to my friend and colleague David Ednie for letting me know about this article

Leena ends her article with the following:

We need to reimagine the future of work and employment by redefining the employee cycle as well as how workers help deliver our business and create a mechanism that integrates the two.

This is the new social contract of work. Jobs become redundant from time to time but people do not need to. It is possible to create employment for life if we are willing to learn, unlearn and relearn our entire lives.

I couldn't agree more.

Very much fits my picture of the new world of work where humans focus on being remarkable and doing work that is meaningful for you and highly valuable for others.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Good is the new average and remarkable is the new normal

I like this piece by Bernadette Jiwa about good being the new average.

Yet what I'm helping my clients to achieve is to be remarkable.

When I undertake performance assessment with my clients below are the criteria:

The quest is to be remarkable because remarkable is the new normal.

Be remarkable.

PS You can download my 'Remarkable is the new normal' workbook with my compliments from here.

Like some help in applying the principle/s in this post in your own best way?

Choose a presentation/conversation/mentoring package.

Speak with me about a 1:1/group mentoring program.

Speak with me about a mentoring your mentors program.

Monday 22 October 2018

What experience, aspiration, lifestyle are you offering?

In an article 'Special Isn’t What You Think' David Clarke, PwC’s global chief experience officer, suggests 4 ways to assess your business to see if you really are special in what you're offering.

1) Your friends and family have workplace envy. 
2) You’re spending less on media.
3) People love to work for you — like, really love it.
4) You’re not a want anymore, you’re a must-have — a new need.

I recommend taking a closer look at these by reading the full article.

Another way you assess your standing, which the article hints at is, what experience, aspiration, lifestyle are you offering your customers/clients?

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.

Friday 19 October 2018

There can only be trouble when everyone is telling and no one is listening

Simon: I think you just summed up the problem in our country today: too much telling and not enough listening. The left is trying to tell the right, the right is trying to tell the left. The pro-gun lobby is trying to tell the gun control lobby, and the gun control lobby is trying to tell the pro-gun lobby. Everybody is telling everybody what it should be and what they should do, and nobody listens. If I had a friend in that position, I wouldn’t tell him anything. I would ask, “Are you happy? How are you? What is going on?” I would shut up and listen.

I think this is one of the most essential skills in life that has almost completely fallen by the wayside and in modern America, which is the art of listening, the skill of listening—a very difficult skill that requires education and tons of practice. If you do it right, active listening makes you exhausted by the end because it takes so much energy. Where you don’t just hear the words that are spoken, but you understand the meaning behind those words. Where you seek out common ground, to try to find whether there are common values—only then can you actually start to have a discussion.

I think the lesson is best captured by a story that Nelson Mandela used to tell. He was asked once, “How did you learn to become a great leader?” What people don’t realize is that he was actually born the son of a tribal chief, and he said, “I went to tribal meetings with my father when I was a boy, and I remember two things: They always sat in a circle, and my father was always the last to speak.”

The above is from this great interview with Simon Sinek by Jordan Harbinger

The image above is from this article (which was referenced in the Sinek/Harbinger interview) It's title in part Conversation Is a Skill. I couldn't agree more.

A lot of my work with my clients is helping them to become remarkable at conversations, what begins them and whats flows from them because my great conclusion from my work is that

Enlightened Language elevates conversations,
Conversations enrich relationships,
Relationships enable business.

Be remarkable.
Like some help in applying the principle/s in this post in your own best way?

Choose a presentation/conversation/mentoring package.

Speak with me about a 1:1/group mentoring program.

Speak with me about a mentoring your mentors program.

Monday 15 October 2018

Value delivery is the essential ingredient for success whatever business you're in

The following is an extract from my Remarkable is the new normal workbook.

You can download the full workbook from here.


We are all regardless of our product/s/service/s in the business of delivering value to all our stakeholders, value that they demand, desire, and feel that they deserve.

If you don’t know what value each of your stakeholders wants you had better ask them and quickly because if you don’t know or wait to long to find out your business is on the slippery slope to extinction rather than distinction!

What Employees Really Want From Employers
(from my research over the past two decades)

Appreciation. The eminent psychologist William James observed: “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”
To be held to account via regular, constructive performance feedforward and feedback
Opportunity to master something
Role satisfaction
A feeling that their work contributes to a higher purpose
Knowing that their work is helping them to achieve their aspirations
Open, regular, truthful, information gathering and sharing
Remuneration perceived to be at least equal to effort
Trust and trustworthiness
Happy and healthy working environment
Fairness in all dealings
Hope for the future

How well are you providing your employees with the above?

How can you do better?

Would you add anything to my list?

What Employees Really Want From Each Other
(from my research over the past two decades)

Goal and strategy alignment
Promises kept
Open communication
Understanding of personal needs
Trust, trustworthiness, and confidence
Appreciation, support and encouragement
Sense of family
Acceptance of the merit of ideas
Mutual respect 

How well are your employees providing each other with the above?

How can your employees do better?

Would your employees add anything to my list?

What customers/clients really want

Geoffrey James has sold and written hundreds of features, articles and columns for many publications including Wired, Men's Health, Business 2.0, SellingPower, Brand World, Computer Gaming World, CIO, The New York Times.

Geoffrey believes all customers want the same 12 things, regardless of who they are, who is selling to them or what they’re buying.

In my work over the past 25 years I would concur with every one of these.

 They want to feel important.
 They want to be appreciated.
 They want you to stop talking about yourself.
 They want you to stop talking about your firm.
 They want you to truly listen.
 They want to be understood.
 They want to teach YOU something.
 They want and need your help.
 They want to buy something.
 They want you to delight and surprise them.
 They want to pretend they make logical decisions.
 They want success and happiness.

On a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being remarkable how well are you delivering on the above 12?

How can you and your employees do better?

Would you add anything to Geoffrey’s list?

You can download the full workbook from here.

Be remarkable.

Friday 12 October 2018

The power of making progress in meaningful work visible

I was staggered recently to view a Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) document. None were indicators they were all desired outcomes for the year.

I took the person I was meeting with through this 2011 post about lead measures.

Our conversation then moved to discussing the progress principle and the power of making progress in meaningful work visible.

Below are three previous posts about this topic that summarise what we talked about.

The Art and Science of Scorecards/Scoreboards and Meaningful Metrics Matter Most

The principles of progress and the progress principle

"Key human indicators" trump the traditional and tired KPI's

In your workplace is progress in meaningful work visible?

If not making this happen is one of most remarkable actions that you can take. Should you love some help please give me a shout.

If you're in my neighbourhood join me for the master-class on this topic in Ballarat on the 24th October. You can register here.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

5 ways to get away from The Greedy Bastards

In my country Australia bastard in the right context can be a term of endearment. Not in this article.

In my life-time (I’m 64) we have shifted from the economy being part of society to society being part of the economy. I for one am on a mission to change this. You?

Why? Economic growth and the pursuit of it is killing us (think oil, data, privacy, elections, you name it), and our planet.

One of my heroes is Sir David Attenborough.

He says “Anyone who thinks we can have infinite growth on a finite planet is either a madman or an economist.”

And yet growth dominates the language of our politicians and business leaders.

Growth is high on the agenda of BREXIT. As I write it’s looking like BRINO (‘Brexit In Name Only’)!

Why? Greedy Bastards.

Just ask the people of Greece. And Italy. And Spain. Ask anywhere!

In particular be aware of greedy bastards wearing suits of doing good. Wolves in sheeps clothing for sure.

BREXIT was a dumb idea in the first place. It smacks of blaming your next door neighbour for the weeds growing in your garden.

And Trump. Don’t get me started. He is greed personified. His charade will end in tears and America will take a generation to recover.

I’ve got everything crossed that he doesn’t take us all into demise.

This is all one reason that I’m focused on thriving in my professional practice rather than growing. I also want to get away from the greedy bastards.

I admit I’m towards the end of my tilt. Nevertheless I’m a decade into the thriving business.

I began in 2008 albeit then, unwillingly.

The 15th September 2008 collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers was arguably the peak of the 2007/08 Global Financial Crisis.

Our world hasn’t recovered.

I was going gangbusters then. I was traveling all the time and doing over 50% of my work outside Australia. The greedy bastards in the financial system brought it all to a halt.

I went back to surviving and gradually moved to thriving. I set goals to thrive not necessarily to grow. And I created systems and processes to ensure sustainability regardless of what the greedy bastards do or don’t do.

There’s strong evidence of course that our financial system is still a shambles.

Here in Australia our financial system is currently under the microscope via a Royal Commission.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne's interim findings take your breath away, including he says “greed is the root cause of bad behaviour in financial advice.”

The good news is that there is an economics that’s good for everyone as Kate Raworth explores in her wonderful book Doughnut Economics.

While we’re bringing in the new financial system we need to beat the greedy bastards. 

Here’s 5 recommendations:

Greed is defined here as selfish want for something beyond one's need.

And typically greed is associated with wealth or power.

1) Resist and stand against talk about growth for growth’s sake

Let’s talk about thriving, living in harmony, leaving the earth better than we found it and acting on this talk.

2) Let’s stop talking about the economy and instead talk about society. 

A good rule before making any major decisions is to ask “How will this be good for my grandchildren?

3) Lobby Governments to ditch GDP and other useless measurements

This idea comes from The Rules ideas into post growth.  They say:

"We could start by ditching GDP as an indicator of success in favor of a more balanced measure like the Genuine Progress Indicator, which accounts for negative “externalities” like pollution and material depletion.   We could roll out a new money system that doesn’t pump our system full of interest-bearing debt. And we could start thinking about putting caps on material use, so that we never extract more than the Earth can regenerate.”

4) Live within your means

Global Debt is about $250 trillion of which approximately a fifth ($50 trillion) is household debt.

Take a close look at your debt levels personally and in your business. Can you honestly say you are living within your means personally and in your business?

If not immediately begin to take corrective action.

Recently my wife and I updated our wills and created powers of attorney our children had to sign. My daughter asked if she would be left with any debt. The answer is no yet it is a good question to ask.

5) Limit the number of products and services you buy that are produced and provided by listed companies

The ABC News in Australia stock market report by Alan Kohler makes me laugh a) he has a sense of humour and b) listed companies here make up about a third of the economy.

The real economy, mostly made up of small to medium enterprises, hardly ever rate a mention.

The stock market is licensed gambling. I don’t want people running companies financed by gamblers (shareholders) to have any influence in my life therefore wherever possible I buy from non-listed companies.

When I do buy from listed companies I’m always endeavouring to ensure that the companies are purpose not profit driven, are known for their ethics, and are genuinely being good citizens.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

“Blasphemous is the dogma that greed is godly and markets are sacred” say Frederick Bird and Henry Mintzberg in their great article Nailing Corporate Reformation to the Door.

Be remarkable.

PS I highly recommend the work of Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna.

Greed and greedy bastards in my view were part of the modern dark ages which preceded the new renaissance explored in this book.

Goldin and Kutarna compare discoveries of the great European Renaissance (1450 - 1550) to the New Renaissance happening now (since 1990).

At around the 11 minute mark in Chris Kutarna's video below he talks about the irrelevance of GDP in today's world.

Friday 5 October 2018

The delights and delusions of decision-making

I like this New York Times article by Steven Johnson about decision-making.

I particularly like the concept of “premortem” from psychologist Gary Klein.

“Our exercise,” Dr. Klein explains, “is to ask planners to imagine that it is months into the future and that their plan has been carried out. And it has failed. That is all they know; they have to explain why they think it failed.”

The article also references work by Professor Paul Nutt whose work I myself referenced in this slideshare

Ian Berry - the right decisions, at the right time, by the right people from Ian Berry

Please note that most of the last slide in the above no longer applicable. My phone number is still the same!

Who will you become?

What will you do next to make better decisions?

I highly recommend reading this book as one great action you can take.

This is a great book about the reliability and unreliability of the intuitive and conscious minds and human rationality, irrationality and other thought provoking concepts. It makes my top 21 books I recommend you read.

Be remarkable.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

The Best Workplace on Earth

According to workplace researchers Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones what makes “the best workplace on earth” are the following:

IDENTITY: “Let me be myself”
TRANSPARENCY: “Tell me what I need to know to get my job done”
TALENT: “Help me develop my skills”
PRIDE: “Give me a place where I can say I’m proud to work”
MEANING: “Give me work that’s meaningful, not menial”
SUPPORT: “Don’t get in the way with stupid rules”

I recommend taking the "dream company" diagnostic by Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones to see how you're going in each of these areas.

Be remarkable.

Monday 1 October 2018

Enlightened Language elevates conversations, Conversations enrich relationships, Relationships enable business

As mentioned in this previous post, during my month away from using all forms of media I significantly upgraded my intellectual property which is all available digitally with my compliments here.

This has also led me to upgrading my professional services offerings to focus on helping you to adopt in your own best way the proven model pictured below and summarised thus:

Enlightened Language elevates conversations, 
Conversations enrich relationships, 
Relationships enable business.

You can learn more about my upgraded professional services via my website.

A completely new service is a mentoring your mentors program which ensures participants become maestro mentor. Learn more.

Be remarkable.