Home > Ideas > I thought Big Blue would present Smarter!

I thought Big Blue would present Smarter!

An event planned to generate visibility and revenue can fall on its face if its conducted inefficiently.

A friend and I attended a business presentation by IBM’s Office Applications Group – there were presentations by Business Managers who represented Lotus Notes, Symphony, Cognos and Tivoli.

The venue was a Conference Hall in a 5-star, the Registration Process was smooth and we were offered refreshments before being asked to settle down for a 10 a.m. start.

At 9:55 a.m. one IBM-er stood in front of the laptop placed on the stage and appeared to be busy, working on it; soon he hailed a colleague and the two were seen discussing something in hushed tones.

When the huddle grew to 3 I told my friend – “I am sure it’s the usual! They are not able achieve the handshake between the laptop and the multimedia projector. Presto! One more Big Blue man appeared waving a Netpad about and suggesting a switch of machines.

It was 10:15 a.m. by the time they managed to get the first slick AV on Solutions for a Smarter Planet going.

That done a presenter, obviously from a local Event Management company, introduced the first speaker with a lot of gusto.

He switched on a video on 100 years of IBM and it stopped running after 30 seconds; he bravely made one more attempt and it stopped again.

After apologizing for the hiccup he made of presentation on the first product – the audience were taken through all features of the product – examples relating the features to real examples were not demonstrated, he just mentioned a few in passing. In fact none of the products were demonstrated.

All three presenters read from the slides as if the audience was illiterate and very little attempt was made to check clarity on the points presented.

As a trainer and someone who has been making presentations for more than 20 years here are some things I have learned:

–          Be at the venue well in advance and check all equipment

–          Have a dry run and check whether all presentations and videos are in order

–          If many people are presenting ask everyone to transfer their presentations to one machine

–          Prepare sufficient examples to highlight the features – sell benefits

–          Don’t read what written on the slide – explain it in your own words

The presentations had high quality graphics but there was nothing to back the information given there, the video looked slick but it did not run, the speakers did not generate interest – it seemed like a half-hearted effort.

Leaving the hall after the presentations the thoughts running through my mind were:

–          This must be one of their Year-End Sales promotion galas

–          They squeezed out some budget from marketing saying it would generate additional revenue

Why would a company like IBM risk losing face with such an effort?

They can contact me for solutions to make Smarter Presentations!

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  1. March 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    I too must admit that I have seen such stuff happen so often. But no sensible boss can leave the coordination of such an event to someone unreliable. The wrong focus of bosses – what else can be the reason?. I must however share a happy experience I had at an event held by Xpert learning in Dubai recently. Bill, one of their presenters that day had to do the last presentation before lunch. However all the other presenters before him overshot their time…as a result by the time it was Bills turn to present it was well past the scheduled lunch time. People where looking at their watches. Bill came up and started, “I know I’m the only one standing between you and your lunch – and that’s not a nice place to stand”…he promised he would just take five more minutes. And in that 5 minutes he just shared one feature-benefit of his solution – that of mobile learning – it was crystal clear and folks were energized. Above all he kept his promise. Presenters need to prepare for these kinds of issues too I guess. Good one Jaydev.

    • JayadevM
      March 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      Great example, Sajan.

      Knowing the pulse of the audience is a skill all smart presenters possess.

      And sticking to the schedule is another one.

  2. Harish babu
    March 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    They can contact impresario for a smarter event……

    • JayadevM
      March 9, 2012 at 7:01 pm


    • JayadevM
      March 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      Nice thought, Harish!

  3. March 10, 2012 at 1:24 am

    I am cringing. What a disaster.

    • JayadevM
      March 10, 2012 at 4:39 am

      🙂 I know!

      After such a performance I would be searching for a hole to bury myself.

  4. Uttam Kumar
    March 10, 2012 at 6:37 am

    True Sajan . Learnt a long while back that KRAs are never delegated without a watchful eye . Obvious , they weren’t serious.

    • JayadevM
      March 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

      Hi Uttam,

      Building KRAs and getting the team to take ownership of the target are skills Managers need to possess – and no better way of teaching ownership than demonstrating it.

  5. Jamy
    March 10, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Planning and preparation is the key, no doubt!!

    • JayadevM
      March 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

      True, Jamy!

      Followed by Smart Execution!

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