Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Are your people commercially smart?

I have been thinking a lot lately about how you need to lead clever people to be commercially successful nowadays.

No longer is it about manpower, it’s now all about talent leverage.

Your competitive advantage in the modern world is the quality of your people. It’s definitely about their ability to innovate, the quality of their intellectual property, their engagement levels and skills, and their ability to get increasingly more done with diminishing physical resources.

Several years ago I founded Thought Leaders as a commercial co-operative that serves some of the smartest people on the planet. To date we are well established in Australia and New Zealand and are expanding in 2011 into three other key global markets. The Thought Leaders Movement is a fabulous testing ground for 21stcentury leadership.

Some things I feel you need to do to lead clever people:

  1. Create an organisation that operates more like a circle and less like a triangle.
  2. Make sure you as the leader inspire and engage
  3. Create a clear intent that people can buy into or sell out of
  4. Create a sense of higher purpose (that you will personally stay committed to)
  5. Make sure that success of the whole is contingent on the success of the individuals
  6. Find ways to stay in touch and communicate your key messages
  7. Don’t be afraid to change your mind
  8. Fail fast
  9. Lose some people along the way
  10. Make it about projects over strategy

Leading in the 21st century is a lot looser and is about managing with confidence and clarity when the prevailing conversations are fear and uncertainty. It comes down (I think) to:

  1. Increasing Personal Leadership at all levels.
  2. Enterprising your existing Thought Leadership.
  3. Skilling your people in and creating opportunities for Speakership.

Lead your thinkers...


Matt Church

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Conference Presenter Basics

Are you planning to speak at a conference anytime soon? If so, here are a few basic things to remember...

Before you begin speaking...

  • SEND your information. Your photo, presentation title and blurb, AV Requirements etc. DON'T wait for them to chase you! Be pro-active and make it easy for the organiser.
  • Write an introduction. Email it to the organiser and also print it out and take it with you. Make it fun and focussed more on your message than on you.
  • Take your presentation slides. Take it on a USB, and name it with YOUR name. Not just the conference name. Make sure it is the ONLY file on the USB to avoid confusion.
  • ARRIVE in the conference room early.
  • FIND OUT what has happened before your presentation and what will be happening afterwards.

Things to remember when on the stage...

  • Don't say, I'll get to that in a few minutes, or I'll speak about that later in my talk.
  • Don't read your slides.
  • Don't use someone else's material without attribution.
  • Do make the organiser look good. If authentic, praise them from the stage.
  • Do acknowledge the time remaining signs held up at the back of the room (or elsewhere). A nod will do.

And finally,

Make sure you know the actual finish time and length of talk, so you finish then, no matter what!


Matt Church

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Paint your words with pictures

When you are giving a speech or a presentation, it makes it easier for the audience to connect with and understand your message if you consider a visual element and show them your point while you tell it to them.

Any picture representation of your idea will increase audience engagement dramatically. The use of a "big picture" visual allows people to wander on purpose. We cannot speak fast enough for the human brain, so it is natural that some of your audience will not be listening to your words. Allow them to think about your point ahead of you by giving them a visual framework – a map to guide their thoughts.

Here are some different visual elements that you could use:

  1. Models, based on geometric shapes like circles triangles and squares
  2. Metaphors and analogies, based on every day life examples that people would know – e.g. the role of a compass or learning to drive
  3. Icons and symbols that convey meaning without the need for explanation – e.g. a stop sign or crucifix
  4. An actual picture of your point
  5. A graph, but not with too much detail
Paint your words with pictures.