Tag Archives: topic

An Interesting Presentation?

Give an interesting presentation every time
Give an interesting presentation by broadening your context

How can you enrich your presenting in unexpected and wonderful ways so to give an interesting presentation regardless of your audience?

To deepen and broaden your perspective so that it encompasses that proverbial “big picture” we forever hear about?

Become a 3-D presenter.

Now, this means several things.  It includes how you utilize the stage to your utmost advantage, and a major component is the exercising of your mind.

And I talk about that here.

Three-D Presentations

Think of it as enlarging your world.  You increase your reservoir of usable material.

And you connect more readily with varied audiences.

You accomplish this in a pleasant and ongoing process – by forever keeping your mind open to possibilities outside your functional area.

By taking your education far beyond undergraduate or graduate school.

And that process increases your personal competitive advantage steadily and incrementally.

By doing something daily, however brief, that stretches your mind or enables you to make a connection that otherwise might have escaped you.

By reading broadly in areas outside your specialty, and by rekindling those interests that excited and animated you early in life.

Read a book outside your specialty.

Have lunch with a colleague from a different discipline.

Time to Dabble . . . Just a Bit

give an interesting presentation
How to give an interesting presentation? Expand your Context.

Dabble a bit in architecture, engineering, art, poetry, history, science.

We sometimes cloister ourselves in our discipline, our job, our tight little world.  We forget that other fields offer insights.

For myself, while teaching in the LeBow College of Business‘s management department this semester, I sometimes sit in on a course sponsored by another college’s history Department “Grand Strategy.”

What a leavening experience: Thucydides, Machiavelli, Clausewitz, Lincoln, and many others . . .

How does this help in preparing my own classes?  In surprising ways.  Linkages appear, and the dots begin to connect themselves.

That’s the beauty and potential of it.

I do know that it will enrich my store of knowledge so that my own presentations continue  in 3-dimensional fashion, connected to the “real world” – textured, deeper, and richer than they otherwise would have been.

It will do the same for yours, and it can aid in your developing into an especially powerful presenter, imbued with professional presence.

For more on how to give interesting business presentations, click HERE.

“I never get an interesting topic”

Interesting topic?
“I never get an interesting topic”

“I never get an interesting topic.”

Perhaps you’ve said that?

I’ve certainly heard it.

In fact, I hear this lament more often than I would prefer.  It embodies much of what is wrong with individual and group presentations.

There is no such thing as an inherently uninteresting topic.   Nor is there an inherently interesting topic.

Interest is something that you generate, combining your unique gifts and training to create something special that appeals to the audience.  Whether your audience is the CEO, a potential client, the Rotary Club, or your fellow students.

That’s your job.  In fact, that’s what you’ll be paid to do upon graduation.

Interesting Topic?  That’s Your Job

Cases are not assigned to you in B-School to interest you.  No one cares if they interest you.

That’s not the point.

Whether you find your topic personally interesting or not is irrelevant.  It’s your duty to craft a talk that interests the audience, perhaps even captivates the audience.

Persuades the audience.

And gives to you an especially powerful https://www.ihatepresentations.com/crafting-your-personal-competitive-advantage/.

We all would love to be spoon-fed “interesting topics,” wouldn’t we?  But what’s an “interesting” business presentation topic?

I’ve found the following to be true:

The students who complain about never getting an interesting topic actually do get assigned those topics – topics that are rich with potential and ripe for exploitation.  Some folks don’t recognize them as “interesting” because their store of information and context either is absent or is untapped.

So they invariably butcher a potentially interesting topic and miss every cue and opportunity to craft a great presentation.

It’s time to recognize that you simply want an interesting topic for yourself . . . not so you can do a bang-up job for the audience.

The Nail – A Powerful Presentation Topic

business presentation interesting topic
You make the business presentation topic about nails interesting . . . it’s your responsibility, in fact

The upshot is that if you don’t take presenting seriously, then you won’t do anything different for an “interesting” business presentation topic than you would for a “boring” topic.

The creative challenge is greater, in fact, for presenting on the topic of tenpenny nails than it is for, say, the Apple iPhone.  The initial perception might be that the iPhone is more inherently “interesting.”

It’s hip.  And familiar.

Students gravitate to the topic like bees to flowers.

But give me a student who gladly takes a business case that involves tenpenny nails and who weaves a compelling, imaginative, and professional presentation, and I’ll show you a future business star.

The best students recognize the drama and conflict and possibilities in every case.  They craft an interesting presentation regardless of the topic.

How do you generate interest?  How do you mine a case for what is dramatic, different, uplifting, unusual?  Public speaking master James Winans provides several suggestions from almost 100 years ago:

[I]nterest is, generally speaking, strongest in old things in new settings, looked at from new angles, given new forms and developed with new facts and ideas, with new light on familiar characters, new explanations of familiar phenomena, or new applications of old truths.

It actually requires thought and a broadening of context.

It requires the extension of horizon, and the expansion of the personal frame of reference.

In short, the learning of new stuff, which is always more difficult than relying upon what we already know – the tried and the true and the comfortable.

The Beast:  The Interesting Topic

And as an aside, what would you do with the topic of tenpenny nails if you were assigned the task of demonstrating to the general public, say, their value to the building industry?

Are these the three-inch nails that take their name from the original price-per-100?  I always thought so.

But an alternative explanation says the name has nothing to do with price.

Instead, it has to do with . . . .  Well, when you deliver a presentation on nails, you’ll find the answer.   The name, by the way, dates from the 15th Century, the same century as the invention of the Gutenberg printing method.

Now that’s a “killer app” with staying power.

Sound like an interesting topic?

For more ways to develop your acumen with regard to your business presentation topic, consult The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.

The Proper Role of Business – a Powerful Presentation Topic

Powerful Presentation Topics
Especially Powerful Presentation Topics are All Around Us

Especially powerful presentation topics often go against the grain of today’s headlines and truisms.

They make us think, make us uncomfortable, and they challenge conventional wisdom.

Often they remind us that arguments have two sides . . . and the other side, while sometimes uncongenial to us, can be logical, cogent, and powerful.

How do we handle such topics when we present them?

With relish and gusto . . . with élan and brio.

What follows is a powerful rallying cry to business, penned by marketing legend Theodore Leavitt.

An especially powerful presentation topic it is.

The Proper Role of Business – Powerful Presentation Topic

Business will have a much better chance of surviving if there is no nonsense about its goals – that is, if long-run profit maximization is the one dominant objective in practice as well as in theory.

Business should recognize what government’s functions are and let it go at that, stopping only to fight government where government directly intrudes itself into business.  It should let government take care of the general welfare so that business can take care of the more material aspects of welfare.

The results of any such single-minded devotion to profit should be invigorating.  With none of the corrosive distractions and costly bureaucracies that now serve the pious cause of welfare, politics, society, and putting up a pleasant front, with none of these draining its vitality, management can shoot for the economic moon.

Refreshingly Aggressive

It can thrust ahead in whatever way seems consistent with its money-making goals.

If laws and threats stand in its way, it should test and fight them, relenting only if the courts have ruled against it, and then probing again to test the limits of the rules.

Powerful Presentation TopicAnd when business fights, it should fight with uncompromising relish and self-assertiveness, instead of using all the rhetorical dodges and pious embellishments that are now so often its stock in trade.

Practicing self-restraint behind the cloak of the insipid dictum that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” has only limited justification.  Certainly it often pays not to squeeze the last dollar out of a market especially when good will is a factor in the long-term outlook.

But too often self-restraint masquerades for capitulation.

Businessmen complain about legislative and other attacks on aggressive profit seeking but then lamely go forth to slay the dragon with speeches that simply concede business’s function to be service.  The critic quickly pounces on this admission with unconcealed relish – “Then why don’t you serve?”

But the fact is, no matter how much business “serves,” it will never be enough for its critics.

Boldness is Needed

If the all-out competitive prescription sounds austere or harsh, that is only because we persist in judging things in terms of Utopian standards.  Altruism, self-denial, charity, and similar values are vital in certain walks of our life – areas which, because of that fact, are more important to the long-run future than business.

But for the most part those virtues are alien to competitive economics.

financial times provides powerful presentation topicsIf it sounds callous to hold such a view, and suicidal to publicize it, that is only because business has done nothing to prepare the community to agree with it.  There is only one way to do that: to perform at top ability and to speak vigorously for (not in defense of) what business does . . . .

No Knuckling Under to Criticism

In the end business has only two responsibilities – to obey the elementary canons of every­day face-to-face civility (honesty, good faith, and so on) and to seek material gain.  The fact that it is the butt of demagogical critics is no reason for management to lose its nerve – to buckle under to reformers – lest more severe restrictions emerge to throttle business completely.

Few people will man the barricades against capitalism if it is a good provider, minds its own business, and supports government in the things which are properly government’s.  Even today, most American critics want only to curb capitalism, not to destroy it.  And curbing efforts will not destroy it if there is free and open discussion about its singular function.

To the extent that there is conflict, can it not be a good thing?  Every book, every piece of history, even every religion testifies to the fact that conflict is and always has been the subject, origin, and life-blood of society.  Struggle helps to keep us alive, to give élan to life.

We should try to make the most of it, not avoid it.

Lord Acton has said of the past that people sacrificed freedom by grasping at impossible justice.  The contemporary school of business morality seems intent on adding its own caveat to that unhappy consequence.  The gospel of tranquility is a soporific.

Instead of fighting for its survival by means of a series of strategic retreats masquerading as industrial statesmanship, business must fight as if it were at war.

And, like a good war, it should be fought gallantly, daringly, and, above all, not morally.

Harvard Business Review, 1959

For more on developing especially powerful presentation topics, consult The Complete Guide to Business School Presenting.