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What I've Learned in Business So Far...

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by Artisan Fan, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. Jr Mouse

    Jr Mouse Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Great thread AF! [​IMG]
     
  2. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    You guys discussing Jobs' presentation skills are missing one important detail - he doesn't need to sell ANYTHING. His products sell themselves. His customers are sycophantic. He knows this. In effect, all he's doing is showing off. Its easy to be the most impressive guy at the gang-bang when you're swinging the biggest dick.
     
  3. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    I know less is more with PPT, but I typically find myself with a dilemma on this, and end up over writing my decks accordingly.

    My issue is that I will present to, say, Regional Comms Director, who needs a takeaway when he/she gets on a plane back to (say) Singapore, and needs to give it to, say, the Regional Marketing Director and the Regional Managing Director.

    If I have a slide that says (random stuff follows):

    Current market perception:
    - generally positive
    - some areas for improvement
    - lower share of voice than competition

    ...they take it back, show the others, and they say "so what are these areas for improvement and what are our competitors doing" - which will all have been covered in the presentation, but now depends either on them meeting face to face (and the person I presented to remembering all) or else just looking empty.

    Sure, the lesson is "make sure you have all the decision makers in the room" - but then, I also live in a country where some of the decision makers visit annually. That won't change.

    Now, I could go preparing an accompanying word doc, but there are two constraints here.

    1. time to prepare. I don't have much. And
    2. time to read - he/she doesn't have much, and doesn't want to read a book to go with it, but'd pretty happily flick through a ~15 slide deck.

    In the end, mostly for the purposes of takeaway, I tend to over write my PPT decks. If the golden rule is know your audience, and I know that a part of my audience won't be there, then I guess I keep to the golden rule, even if breaking rules as they pertain to brevity and economy of words...
     
  4. Don Carlos

    Don Carlos Senior member

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    ^^

    An important corollary to "know your audience" is "know what purpose the presentation will serve." If it needs to be taken away and read, rather than primarily absorbed in a live presentation, then you should definitelty be more detailed.

    At the same time, it's not Word. You don't have to write a textbook. Be creative and mindful in how you convey complex ideas. A dynamic and well-thought-out chart, for example, conveys a lot of information that might otherwise have needed a couple of dense and dry paragraphs to spell out.

    Frankly, "take-away and read" decks are one of my biggest pet peeves in the business world. That's not what PPT was designed for. People treat it as if it were Word. It is probably the most overused application in business, and seldom used correctly.
     
  5. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    The reason that PPTs have become handouts is that PPT presentations are more common with clients so content is created for that first. Then some of those graphics will be exported to a Word document for RFPs and proposals.

    If you create the PPT content properly it is well suited for a "leave behind".
     
  6. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Navigating the Corporate Organization Best to trust no one at first and let others earn your trust by deeds. Actions speak louder than words. In the Fortune 500, talk is remarkably cheap. Some rules for advancing up the ladder: 1. Nothing beats good job performance...most of the time. 2. Client work is more important than internal work. 3. Client recommendation beats internal recommendation. 4. Get connected to revenue. Show you are bringing in revenue or lowering costs in a substantial way. 5. Find a mentor to help you navigate the waters. Ideally one inside the company and one outside. 6. Don't brag. Let your work product speak for itself. 7. Show initiative by starting up a project that is needed but not directly asked for. 8. Be responsive on emails. 9. Have enough discipline to say "no" where possible if you are too busy or the new project is of dubious value to the client or the firm. 10. Find something you like and have fun. If you are not having fun at work or at least learning a lot then it becomes a "job".
     
  7. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    You guys discussing Jobs' presentation skills are missing one important detail - he doesn't need to sell ANYTHING. His products sell themselves. His customers are sycophantic. He knows this. In effect, all he's doing is showing off. Its easy to be the most impressive guy at the gang-bang when you're swinging the biggest dick.

    I disagree. I've seen plenty of good products ruined by presentation. Jobs certainly has audience sympathy going his way, but he still has to tell you why his products are good, and to get you excited about it. The 2007 iPhone intro has got to be one of the best presentations I've ever seen, and that was about a totally new product that was unlike anything else on the market, so he had to tell us all about it.

    The PowerPC-x86 transition keynote a few years before is another really great presentation. He had to reassure Apple fanboys while explaining the technical reasons for doing the transition.

    --Andre
     
  8. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    If you guys dont mind me chiming in.

    When it comes to selling I find that honestly gets the client on my side nearly every time. If they ask me my opinion about something, i give it to them. I work with all types of salespeople and i find that the ones that Sugar coat the bad news have a hard time closing.

    Too much opinion/honesty is a little annoying, but when it comes to key decisions it's important.
     
  9. Storm33

    Storm33 Senior member

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    New Rules for the Office

    Treat everybody well.

    Administrative or Executive Assistants? A rich source of quality information.

    Quality of work trumps face time.

    Is face time valued in your company? Find another company.

    In a consulting firm, collaboration is important.

    Have a hard time talking to senior people? Take a public speaking course. Builds confidence. Find a common interest. Executives, yeah I know a few. Most are hard working, good people. Not as many play golf as you think. Just regular people. Nothing to be afraid of.

    Show initiative. We had a very senior guy join my company. He was going to need some help in an area I work in. I sent him some background slides and a LinkedIn request. Made his life easier. Old advice of waiting for a proper introduction? No thanks.

    Cover your ass. There is backstabbing which sucks but what can you do. Look out from all angles. Just because you are paranoid does not mean they are not out to get you.

    ...

    Find a mentor at the company. This can be tricky but there is a certain personality type that is good at this.


    Thanks for doing this, AF. This thread absolutely rocks! [​IMG]

    The points above nail it for me. Finishing my MBA in a few months, and have been a consultant since '98 (IT, operations, process improvement). Looking forward to what lies ahead, and I really appreciate the wealth of information here!

    A collaborative approach to problem solving is my hallmark, and with a few exceptions I've always been rewarded by being "other focused" and taking care of my people (clients, superiors, peers, and subordinates). I can't stand the backstabbing pricks who think the only way to succeed is by screwing somebody else. Fortunately I've been able to minimize my exposure to that element for the most part.

    Keep the good stuff coming!
     
  10. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Too much opinion/honesty is a little annoying, but when it comes to key decisions it's important.

    I agree 110%.
     
  11. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    A collaborative approach to problem solving is my hallmark, and with a few exceptions I've always been rewarded by being "other focused" and taking care of my people (clients, superiors, peers, and subordinates). I can't stand the backstabbing pricks who think the only way to succeed is by screwing somebody else. Fortunately I've been able to minimize my exposure to that element for the most part. Keep the good stuff coming!
    Glad to help and great post. [​IMG] Here's a tip for ensuring collaboration: At the start of a client pitch, create an ROI model for your project. Use good and well sourced assumptions but try to get to a big payoff number. Here's what will happen: 1. Present business value and methodology of solution. Tie closely to customer pain points. 2. Near the end show the ROI payoff number. The client will often disagree that such a fantastical number is achievable. 3. Offer to work with the client's team to use their own numbers. Over time they get invested in the process and begin to "own" the resulting ROI number. At that point you are golden because the number or return becomes unassailable. After all it's their number and calculation!
     
  12. Storm33

    Storm33 Senior member

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    Here's a tip for ensuring collaboration:

    At the start of a client pitch, create an ROI model for your project. Use good and well sourced assumptions but try to get to a big payoff number. Here's what will happen:

    1. Present business value and methodology of solution. Tie closely to customer pain points.

    2. Near the end show the ROI payoff number. The client will often disagree that such a fantastical number is achievable.

    3. Offer to work with the client's team to use their own numbers. Over time they get invested in the process and begin to "own" the resulting ROI number. At that point you are golden because the number or return becomes unassailable. After all it's their number and calculation!



    Brilliant!
     
  13. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    What I've learned?

    All business is politics.

    Stay close to the money.
     
  14. Blackhood

    Blackhood Senior member

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    The reason that PPTs have become handouts is that PPT presentations are more common with clients so content is created for that first. Then some of those graphics will be exported to a Word document for RFPs and proposals.

    If you create the PPT content properly it is well suited for a "leave behind".


    Sorry to drag up a topic from 10 hours ago, but I'd appreciate your input.

    My gut reaction to a client with whom the decision maker isn't able to be present would be as follows:

    • Make a "presentation" PPT following the Simple = Good Philosophy
    • Create hand out for the audience
    • Give them a "Take Home" PPT or DOC (I would opt for Doc) with the details that the Decision Maker needs. Not a plan or anything, but a 1-2 page document that outlines specifics.

    This would negate the memory loss/boredom/failure of the actual "audience" and preserve your pitch integrity.

    I assume this is wrong simply because it is so obvious that if it worked people would do it already?
     
  15. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    3. Offer to work with the client's team to use their own numbers. Over time they get invested in the process and begin to "own" the resulting ROI number. At that point you are golden because the number or return becomes unassailable. After all it's their number and calculation!

    Agreed, but often the problem I see in my work is my clients don't have visibility into their processes to get the numbers.

    It becomes guesswork at that point.
     
  16. L.R.

    L.R. Senior member

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    Hey AF, have you any experience with people who have successfully transitioned from the military to MBA/consulting? I've often read that they're fairly valued, but I would appreciate a real persons opinion.
     
  17. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    Hey AF, have you any experience with people who have successfully transitioned from the military to MBA/consulting? I've often read that they're fairly valued, but I would appreciate a real persons opinion.

    They are valued. My brother was a Ranger who went to MBA school. Pharma and medical device companies love this type of person for sales jobs.
     
  18. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    globetrotter would be our pin up boy for that around here. and yes, for the sake of anyone who has met Zach...I did just call him a pin up boy [​IMG]
     
  19. L.R.

    L.R. Senior member

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    They are valued. My brother was a Ranger who went to MBA school. Pharma and medical device companies love this type of person for sales jobs.

    globetrotter would be our pin up boy for that around here.

    and yes, for the sake of anyone who has met Zach...I did just call him a pin up boy [​IMG]


    Thanks for the info guys. I honestly never would have thought pharma and medical companies as the particular area where a military background would be particularly helpful.
     
  20. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    globetrotter would be our pin up boy for that around here.

    and yes, for the sake of anyone who has met Zach...I did just call him a pin up boy [​IMG]


    thanks, Matt [​IMG]

    in my company, of 14 regional managers and two directors, at least 6 of us have military backgrounds, the other director and I were in infantry.


    a lot of medical sales go like this - you start off with selling drugs or disposables to doctors offices. if you get good, you move up to selling bigger stuff and more valuable capital equipment, then you move to bigger capital equipment and possibly management positions.

    the companies that hire pharma reps and disposable stuff to sell to doctors offices are really into athletes, cheerleaders and military. so, a soldier can get into the starter path to advance in medical equipment.


    aside from getting in - I feel that the discipline and the work ethic of the military help in any sales job.
     

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