Monthly Archives: November 2012

Improved communication

How many times did you attend a meeting with a speaker reading a 12 bullets slides with unreadable text in Arial 12pt (or even worse, Comic Sans). Even if the subject was interesting, it is more likely that the monotone speech of the speaker and the overload of text (and likely of colors) led you to watch the clouds in the sky or even to fall asleep while keeping your eyes semi-open. Clearly, such communication did not reached his goal: change behaviour! Yes, we usually don’t communicate just for the sake of it, we communicate because we hope we can influence people and make them change their mind and they way of acting. If you don’t, stop wasting your colleagues’ precious time!

Doing a presentation is an art. Being a good speaker is a talent. As all talent, it requires practice and training. Before reaching Steve Jobs or Sir Ken Robinson’s level, you can already start improving your visual support, the holly PowerPoint presentation that most of you prepare as soon they have to present something. Of course it might bring clarity, structure and visual support for boring and complex numbers. Unfortunately, in wrong hands, it can also make your presentation even more boring.

Nancy Duarte’s is famous for her work on corporate presentation. Her excellent book “Slideology” might be a good start to understand the basic principles ofa good PowerPoint presentation. If you need to be convinced, I suggest you pay a visit to her web site and check her online portfolio on

You may also profit from the reading of Garr Reynolds books: “Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery” and “Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations“.

Changing your presentation, you will also notice you will change the way you present it. Good presentation requires a logical flowing structure that will also improve the intelligibility of your oral presentation.

Of course, these books are only helpful if you care about being listened. Assertivity is just one key of success, you can maybe achieve your goals without it.

What motivates us?

Here is a link to a animated video of Dan Pink, author of the famous book on motivation, “drive”. If there is just one thing to remind from this speech it is that you should not consider your employees as horse that need to be motivated but just let them do their job. If you think they don’t do it right, teach them, train them, give them the freedom to improve themself, to master their work. It will cost you less money at the end, be more efficient and will provide more satisfaction to your employees. In return, they will be more engaged, be more likely to stay within your company and be more productive.

Think in terms of implicit communication: If you have to pay them more to do their job, the implicit reason is that their job is so boring that it requires higher reward. If you don’t pay much, it must be fun. Even if the job is not boring in itself, you imply somehow that it is.

So, don’t try to control their work, just let them improve themself because they want to. Foster their desire to master, nurture it. Provide the right environment. Be a cultivator. You don’t require to your plant to grow faster or better, you just provide the right food, water and good spot with light. You control the conditions that allows your plants to grow. Why do we try to do otherwise with people? They are not plants? Of course, but they just want to grow.