Monthly Archives: September 2011
Of one thing you can be certain, and that is that *you* often help create the most boring experience any human can be forced to endure. So writes our COO Chris Savage in today’s piece for Nextness, cross-posted from his excellent management and business blog Wrestling Possums. Chris tells you what causes your clients to snooze – and, in three words, how to solve this problem forever.
Stop being so bloody boring! Here’s how.
Watching a two hour music concert of four year olds you’re not related to? Reading ancient “Knitting Weekly” magazines in the doctor’s waiting rooms? Watching grass grow? None of these compare to what you make your colleagues and clients suffer when you, quite simple, bore their socks off. How do you do it? Same way I do: by giving mind-numbingly boring presentations. Come on now – you know you do it. But fear not! Help is at hand.
Presentations suck. But they don’t need to.
Sitting through presentations, particularly new business pitches, is the most boring thing in life. I know. I have sat through hundreds of them. Most are poorly constructed, and terribly presented. Dark rooms, endless text heavy power points, monotone speakers, telling the ‘client’ what the client has already told them. And, in agency world, if there are five agencies pitching, four of them often present the same idea and approach. Boring. Deadly.
Clients have also often made up their minds on which agency they will select before the final presentation. (Getting on a short list does not mean you have a shot at the business.)
Here’s the one proven way to break that mould, delight your audience and greatly enhance your chances of winning… of getting agreement and a ‘yes’ to whatever it is you are asking for: KEEP IT SHORT.
It’s as simple as that. Keep your presentations to 20 minutes or less.
In my industry, 45 minutes or an hour is the usual time allotted for a presentation, followed by Question Time. Start your presentation like this: “Thanks for the opportunity. Now – our presentation is going to take 20 minutes. We will then give you a detailed proposal document, and can then discuss any aspect you want to in more detail at that time.”
If you could look inside the client’s mind, you’d see one very large word: “YEEEEEEEHA!” Clients love it. They cheer up. Sit up. “Brilliant!” they say to themselves. “Not another boring, bland hour of torture. If you can do it in 20 minutes, I’ll pay attention!”
Get to your Big Idea or Core Concept within seven minutes.
Bring up the one thing you want your client to remember about your presentation more than anything else within the first seven minutes. And finish within twenty.
It’s not always possible. I know. Sometimes clients give you 3 hours to present. They might ask you to spend half an hour each on six topics. So- do six 12 minute presentations instead. Same concept applies.
Give it a go. Be brave. Keep it short. You’ll see your audiences faces light up with relieved and delighted smiles when you do. And you’ll get that all important ‘YES” far more often.
Chris Savage is the Chief Operating Officer of STW Group. His blog Wrestling Possums is a resource of stories, insights and ideas for anyone interested in building successful careers and businesses in professional services. Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisjohnsavage.
Our greatest hits.
Here are our Top 10 reads according to Google Analytics. If you missed them the first time: please enjoy. If you like them, help us celebrate our birthday by passing them on to your friends!
- “What matters is the work”: 25 lessons for creatives in Patti Smith’s ‘Just Kids.’
- How to get out of a creative rut.
- Why we love the internet.
- Why coming first does not always mean winning: Malcolm Gladwell on innovation.
- Thursday September 15 is R U OK?Day.
- Creativity: what is it, who has it, and how can we get more?
- Nextness 101. Why you (and your brand) should be on Tumblr.
- Making friends in the digital age: a manifesto for brand enlightenment.
- The best camera is the one you have with you: a review of top photography apps.
- John Maeda: an artist redesigns leadership.
Thank you to all the STW Group contributors and curators, our guest bloggers, commenters, readers, and Twitter friends who’ve supported our first six months.
If you have any suggestions for what you’d like to see on Nextness over the next six, please tweet us! @STWnextness.
1. The art of Google Streetview.
9-eyes is a collection of beautiful images found on Google Streetview. The 9-eyes of the title is taken from the nine cameras that Google sends out on each car they’re using to document every street in the world.
Razor brand Schick has done a few clever things with a new campaign they’re running. They’ve branded “razorbombing” as “the new planking” and partnered with Buzzfeed -- a scoreboard of virality that updates in real time -- to run a competition asking consumers to enter their own photos. The prize? $10,000. Can memes be artificially created? Who knows, but it’s nice to see work that’s so in touch with what the internet loves. Bonus: more good work from Schick.
3. Ursus Wehrli.
In Ursus Wehrli’s The Art of Cleaning Up (or Die Kunst, Aufzuraumen), the Swiss artist/comedian tidies up things we didn’t even realise were messy. This is his TED Talk on tidying up art. His website.
4. Compressed liquid.
“I combined everyday soap bubbles with exotic ferrofluid liquid to create an eerie tale, using macro lenses and time lapse techniques. Black ferrofluid and dye race through bubble structures, drawn through by the invisible forces of capillary action and magnetism.” (by Kim Pimmel, via@mikearauz)
5. Kalder at home.
6. When high fashion is funny.
The Lanvin Fall 2011 Campaign Movie is probably the only fashion video you’ll crack a smile watching. It works.
7. This is a painting.
Artist Carly Waito’s stunning paintings of minerals.
8. The golden mistake.
“I made these custom “mistake” keys for my keyboard a bit back. Solid gold and Z keys. The ones we are constantly pressing to go back in time. Cast to work just like the originals on my everyday keyboard.” Eric Elms via I’m Revolting.
Bonus, for beginners wondering if they’ll ever master their art or craft.
A derelict old building in Sydney’s Chippendale, once home to some nesting pigeons and not much more, has been transformed into a playful and effective creative space by STW company Tongue. An ideas agency with a digital backbone, Tongue worked with Siren Design to build a space to make their agency mantra of “big ideas delivered” come to life. Does it work? See for yourself.
“At Tongue we’ve literally created an entire workspace based around ideas. Every part of our office is a living demonstration of who we are as creative people,” says Tongue Managing Partner and Executive Ideas Director Joanthan Pease (@jonathanpease). In this guest post for Nextness, Jonathan gives us a peek behind the walls of Tongue House – and shares his top ten tips for creating a time and a place for ideas.