Presentation Success Tip: How To Help People Follow You

Create Transitions


"We'll be back after this message from..."  There's a reason why TV and radio announcers use that line. It's designed to help you understand what's about to happen and how it's connected to the programming. In broadcasting it's called a "segue."


How often have you watched a speaker end a sentence, click the next slide, speak, click the next slide, speak, click the next slide... and you're wondering "How is this related to what I just saw?" That's what happens when presenters see their role as giving out information instead of telling a meaningful story.

Connect the Dots

This is what it sounds like when you're taking the audience with you:

  • "We just saw the results of last month's marketing activity. Now let's look at what that means for this month's forecast."  Click.
  • "If we decide on Alternative D, how will that impact staffing levels? Here's what we found..." Click.
  • "You asked how we're going to start up the Asian operation. Let's look at the first 3 steps." Click.

So the next time you have a presentation to design, think segue. Build a bridge from one thought or fact to the next--and take your listeners with you. They'll appreciate it.



Why Should You Want to Work There?

An international survey of more than 500 HR executives by global talent management firm Bernard Hodes (now part of Findly) has found that the quality or reputation of products and services, the corporate culture and the work environment are a business's most important attributes when it comes to bringing talent on board.

Ethical reputation also scored highly. But benefits and compensation were, perhaps surprisingly, toward the bottom of the list.

What does it tell us? That job seekers have a keen idea about the kind of atmosphere in which they want to spend their work life and are savvy and discerning in their search. Discerning to the point that companies are getting professional help to create a "brand" for recruiting. I think that's a worthwhile endeavor. But consultants and their client companies have to pay more attention to what's actually happening: "The War for Talent" is really "the system-to-make-it-as-difficult-as-possible-to-ever-get-in-the-door."

Is Anyone Else Experiencing This?

Our daughter graduated from a well-known university. High GPA, Dean's list, two semesters of study abroad in two different countries, fluent in a second language and quite conversational in a third; leadership experiences during college, worked at a real job for a government agency in her junior and senior years and had additional work experience with a professional firm. Most of all she was motivated to work and clear about where she wanted to be.Jobpal_interface


Here's how the job search actually went:

1. All resumes had to be submitted online (not unusual or surprising). She understood the whole "keyword" deal in order to get through internal search machines.

    a. More often than not, there was no response indicating that the document was actually received.

    b. Many websites seemed to be designed by IT people for IT people. They were difficult for even the web-savvy to navigate.

    c. Frequently--very frequently--three quarters of the way through the process all of the information would disappear. On numerous occasions she had to enter the information multiple times before the site remained "up" long enough to complete the application.

2. Seldom did she ever receive any acknowledgment from a real human-being that the resume had been received. I understand that huge corporations receive many applications. If there is a "war for talent" and "company culture and reputation" are really important, then spending dollars on public relations is wasted capital if no one is actually talking to the talent.

3. Career Fairs. My favorite. She figured that if the online application system wasn't yielding results,   then some face-to-face contact could move things along. So she registered for the Career Fair and  showed up with the requested twenty resumes. Please feel free to use the following dialog if you are a stand-up comedian and need some job-related material:

    Daughter: HI, I'm interested in talking with you about___________.

    Recruiter: HI, my name is_____________________.

    (Casual conversation, brochure distributed by Recruiter)

    Daughter: I think this (points to brochure) might be an area where I'd like to contribute. Here is a copy of my resume.

    Recruiter: Go on our website and fill out an application.

    Daughter: Uh, I thought this was a place to talk about jobs and exchange information.

    Recruiter: We don't take resumes. Go on our website and fill in an application.

    Daughter's evil thought: (What are they paying you for if you don't handle resumes. I already knew there was a website. Maybe I should get a Recruiting job with your company so I wouldn't actually have to do Recruiting and could travel and turn in expense reports for meals and hotels.)

    Her target companies were well-known and in the Fortune 500 with some in the Fortune 50. Many tout their Talent Management initiatives. Experience tells me that the internal presentations about Talent Management may be more impressive than the actual execution.

    Happy Ending: She started working at a global firm on a temporary assignment. She liked the company a lot. They liked her work a lot and hire her as a full-time professional there.

Question: If companies are waging a "War for Talent," then wouldn't it be useful to remember that wars are won by the people on the front lines doing their jobs--not in the staff headquarters or the branding office?

Do You Know Your Conversation Catalysts?

Do you want to spread your message for a product, service, or maybe an important organizational change?

Here's a question to answer: "Who are your Conversation Catalysts?"

My friend Valeria Maltoni , conversation and connection gurette, wrote about a Keller Fay Group research finding that showed 15% of the population to be  Conversation Catalysts.  Conversation Catalyst

"These influencers tend to recommend brands and products more often at the tune of 149 times a week vs. 79 for the average population. They also tend to have more conversations -- 184 vs. 114 -- and talk more about brands than others."

Valeria then highlighted the level of various media influences and, ultimately, what this means for the importance of a company website.

The take-away for us is this: Conversation catalysts talk to a whole lot more people and will be happy to share their experiences with them -- good, bad, or indifferent.

Let's connect the dots to make this work for you now

1. Who are the 15% in your customer base or organization? Find out and reach out.

2. What do you want them to say, think, and feel about you and your product or message?

3. How can you make that happen? For real. Genuinely. Authentically.

Hint: The answer involves first reaching that critical 15% in the most effective way (you may want to go back and look at the media research).

Note: If you try to fool the 15% with your puff-piece equivalent of Flash technology, remember that they have the power to reveal you as a fraud.

The takeaway for today

Your customers are going to talk about you. If you are a manager, your employees are going to talk about you.

Regardless of the audience, are you influencing the conversation with the right people at the right time in the right way in order to create the right conversations for success?


Image source:

Inclined to Collaborate? You Should Be

"Collaboration is a key driver of overall performance of companies around the world. Its impact is twice as significant as a company’s aggressiveness in pursuing new market opportunities (strategic orientation) and five times as significant as the external market environment (market turbulence)."

As a general rule, global companies that collaborate better, perform better. Those that collaborate less, do not perform as well. It’s just that simple.”

That is a pretty powerful claim. It is substantiated by a research study done through a collaborative effort of Frost & Sullivan, Microsoft, and Verizon.  

CollaborateThe researchers created a collaboration index to measure a company’s relative “collaborativeness” based on two main factors:

  • An organization’s orientation and infrastructure to collaborate, including collaborative technologies such as audioconferencing, Web conferencing and instant messaging
  • The nature and extent of collaboration that allows people to work together as well as an organization’s culture and processes that encourage teamwork

Do You Play Well With Others?

This may seem like an abrupt switch from the serious tone, depth, and breadth of the study. But I needed that kind of data to help lead into an important career trait: playing well with others.

The study is right on target by highlighting the need for the right tools, systems, and culture. Yet it ultimately comes down to the individual. If you work in a global organization, you've got some extra challenges: time zone differences, language differences, cultural differences in what constitutes teamwork...(add your own experience by sending a comment!)

I just spent 3 hours coaching a client who is now forced to deal with a highly intelligent, high-performing manager who isn't viewed as collaborative. By anyone. No one at any of their worldwide locations gave him decent feedback on teamwork and collaboration. And this has been happening for a few years. (He continues to achieve all of the goals set out for him--and no one dislikes him personally.)

His side of the story

I sat down and spoke with the manager some months ago about these perceptions and what that might mean to his career. He understood that people didn't see him as collaborative. His take on it is that they are universally wrong. He communicates when he believes it's necessary. I told him that he had to simply initiate more, share more information--even if it didn't make sense to him--and mend some strained relationships with those who thought he was actually hiding something. He  listened, gave intellectual rebuttals for why that didn't make sense, and chose not to do anything differently.

What happened?

His management career is least with his current employer. He'll probably have a shot at being an individual contributor in a specific discipline; but upward mobility is no longer a possibility.

Some people burn bridges. He never built them. We should take seriously the lessons we can learn from this real-life situation:

1. Organizations thrive because of collaboration. If you want to be seen as a player, then be one.

2. A high IQ doesn't compensate for low EQ. Your Emotional Quotient--your willingness and ability to relate and connect--is important to your company and your career.

3. Task results don't always matter if your behavior disrupts the rest of the system.

4. The study I cited noted the importance of processes, systems, and culture. This company's culture valued teamwork. That was one of their systems. Roesler's rule: Unless you have 51% of the vote, don't fight the system. The system always wins.


Really: How Many Choices Do You Want?

The rallying cry of sales reps, product managers and politicians is "Choices! We offer choices!"

My observation? 

We really don’t like having too many choices. It makes us a little nervous. Every option leads to a chance to foul something up. Heck, a lot of people are more worried about not being wrong than about being right. So, we allow our experiences and habits to narrow our options to just a couple of familiar ones. It reduces the anxiety and relieves stress.


So, how do you make genuine changes faced with the siren song of habits?

The first move is to re-capture your sense of conscious choice in place of habitual reactions.  This leads to new options and frees you up from repeating the mistakes that have risen from repetition.

Be aware: it's not a single event, but a way of life.

More Good Options Than You Think!

You can choose how to respond, regardless of the situation and circumstances. Here are some possibilities that can change your world today. None of the options is confusing and you have permission to pick just one to get started:

  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Try something new and different, and don't worry about getting it wrong. People who never made a mistake never made anything else.
  • Caught up in your emotions? Over-enthusiasm, revenge, or frustration will each whisper lousy advice in your ear. Wait until they stop talking, chill out, and re-visit the decision.
  • Listen longer before you respond to someone, at work or at home. The other person will feel more respected and you're just liable to see something from their viewpoint--in which case, you may end up in agreement. At the least, you'll learn something new.
  • Eschew snap judgments. It's easy to take a stand; the workplace smiles upon "strong"people. But when it comes to who is right and who is wrong, a knee-jerk reaction can wreck relationships. Besides, do you like it when someone makes a judgment about you?
  • Stop the self-talk about what you can’t do. Once you start doing that, you'll make it come true. Give your idea a try and see what happens. If it doesn't work, so what? Really. So what? If it does work, think about how you'll feel.

Now there's only one option: Will you choose to try doing something differently?"

My Photo

Steve Roesler, Principal & Founder
The Steve Roesler Group
Office: 609.654.7376
Mobile: 856.275.4002

Enter your name and email address to receive your copy of my coaching eGuide.

Leadership & Influence Blog
Business Blogs



  • View Steve Roesler's profile on LinkedIn
Personal Growth from

Get Updates via RSS Feed

  • Enter your email address in the yellow box for FREE daily updates

    Powered by FeedBlitz

Awards & Recognition...

  • Career 100
Alltop, all the top stories