Thursday, January 1, 2015

Only YOU can prevent bad presentations

It’s New Year’s Day, and therefore time to point out, reflect, and make resolutions.

My title borrows from those Smokey Bear public service announcements that once said Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires. Smokey Bear’s images are jealously guarded by the Ad Council. I went back a century at the Library of Congress web site and found another image to adapt  from a classic Navy recruiting poster.

I also went back even further to 1899 for a very different image.

Then I went forward to the late 1930’s for another more abstract image.

Any way you look at it, YOU have the responsibility for thinking before you write a speech, fire up PowerPoint (or Excel, or Word), or finally open your mouth before an audience. Please don’t make your audience do the Goren Lean - turn their heads  90 degrees to the left just to read a vertical caption on a vertical bar chart.

If you’re looking for inspiration, then download the text from the 2014 EAST Oriens lecture by Grace S. Rozycki, MD, titled The Strength That It Takes: Ten Lessons Learned From 28 Years on the Front Lines, which appeared in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, July 2014, V77, N1. (Just Google EAST 2014 Oriens lecture to find a link to the .pdf file). Her ten lessons are:

1. Walk the Walk and Earn Your Stripes
2. Crystallize Your Goals and Prioritize Them So That First Things Come First
3. Value Emotional Intelligence
4. Learn Leadership Skills and Ensure That They Develop Over Time
5. Learn to Work as a Team
6. Operate From a High Moral compass
7. Learn to Manage Stress
8. Be Service Oriented
9. Be Prepared to Fail, and More Importantly, Learn From It
10. Understand That Fleeting Success Comes Easy but Longevity Is Another Story

This also might be a good time to download and read Tom and David Kelley’s article on how to Reclaim Your Creative Confidence that appeared in the December 2012 issue of the Harvard Business Review. It’s time to get beyond four fears of a) the messy unknown; b) being judged; c) taking the first step; and d) losing control of things.

1 comment:

John Zimmer said...

Thanks for the leads on those articles, Richard. And thanks also for reminding us that we are responsible for our presentations and speeches.

Happy New Year and all the best for 2015.