Monday, February 11, 2008

Presenting your ideas with passion

One of the people I admire most is Steve Jobs, not just for his groundbreaking products, but the way he presents them. I came across a great BusinessWeek article that outlined 10 ways to deliver a presentation like Steve Jobs. This got me thinking about my own experiences with presenting, which is something I really enjoy.

One of the most memorable presentations I made was when I was Design Director at The Sloan Group. There I lead a creative team that worked exclusively on WorldSpace (international satellite radio). It was the largest account in the agency at the time with a 50k a month retainer. WorldSpace was a fascinating opportunity to develop a global B to B brand. We created advertising campaigns, trade show booths and marketing materials that were translated into everything from Arabic to Chinese.

One morning I flew to WorldSpace corporate headquarters in Washington DC with Cliff, the president of the Sloan Group, and the lead account exec. On the plane Cliff leaned over and told me that I would be presenting the 12 concepts we developed for a new division, WorldScape. I sat forward and gazed at each logo in the deck, envisioning myself describing each one. I thought about how genuinely proud I was of every concept - solid, stand alone graphic identities that represented what the product was all about.

Flash forward to the presentation. I stood at the head of a long, glossy conference table packed with 20 top marketing and technical heads of WorldSpace. I introduced each of the concepts as if they were people, with distinct personalities and points of view, but all relatives in the WorldSpace family. As I placed the last board down and thanked everyone, something very unexpected happened - everyone applauded. This was the moment I realized how powerful speaking with passion and conviction can be. When you truly believe in your own ideas, other people can too.

Image of Steve Jobs at MacWorld 2008 by dfarber via flickr, used under a Creative Commons license

1 comment:

Cliff Allen said...

In addition to passion, I've found that the quality of my presentations went up as my experience and expertise increased. I'm fortunate that I've always worked in marketing and sales -- two of the areas I'm passionate about -- which has given me the time to develop my marketing skills.