As corporate leaders, executives are far more visible than the average employee. That makes their personal reputation almost as important as the company’s reputation, and even more important in certain situations. Online reputation management for executives is critical. This is because anyone can check up on you online and then use that information in a variety of ways. For example, an executive’s reputation affects prospective employers’ hiring decision. Between your online reputation and your interview, potential employers can get a pretty good idea of who you are, what you do, and how you react in certain situations. If you seem like a good fit with their values, mission, and culture, you’re more likely to be hired. Shareholders may look at your reputation before investing. I once worked with an executive to help prioritize his online reputation results. This was because venture capital firms were courting his company and he wanted to make the best personal impression possible. Of course the bulk of these decisions largely rests on the company profile. But, if you’re creating a startup, will manage the investment funds, or have a large influence on how the money will be used, investors may consider your reputation before making the final decision. How you appear online could influence how much and when they choose to invest. It could even influence whether they invest in your company at all. As another example, customers may consider executives’ reputations before buying from or endorsing the company. This is especially true if your business offers long-term services, if you’ll be working with the client directly, or if you support controversial causes or policies. Journalists also use executives’ reputations to determine who is the best fit for a news story. Reporters use practical information, such as the processes and employees you manage. And they use your reputation, such as the causes you support and your friendliness to the media, to gauge how well you fit their stories and how important a line from you could be. Speaking of news stories, your online reputation also affects the angle journalists take when writing about you or your company. In addition to other factors, a well-managed executive reputation can mean the difference between a scathing business review and a positive feature story. Executive online reputation management prevents impersonators damaging your good name. By keeping your name and the content and ideas associated with you clean and accurate, you retain influence over the decisions others make about you. Good executive reputations also reflect well on the company reputation. They secure your position and giving you credibility and clout in corporate decision-making. Finally, executives’ online reputations can help establish them as thought leaders and industry experts. All business leaders should strive to be thought leaders to help their companies and consumers. They should also strive to create their own solid image online. Being perceived as an industry expert influences the decisions others make that you don’t know about, and can help you secure your position, land a better job, or negotiate a better salary or benefits.
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PowerPoint – the “stirrups” of presentations
Some people say that stirrups took the skill out of horse riding. Stirrups made it too easy for riders to stay on their horses.
PowerPoint is thought to have done the same for presentations. By organizing your ideas, thoughts, and information in a series of slides, meetings start to look the same.
PowerPoint is so ubiquitous that a meeting is almost not a meeting without some slides. Is there another way to communicate, or are we all doomed to experience “death by PowerPoint”?
There Are Alternatives
PowerPoint was invented less than a hundred years ago. Socrates, Marcus Aurelius, Martin Luther, and Einstein didn’t let their lack of PowerPoint stop them! Perhaps it’s worth looking at some alternatives.
“Live & unplugged”
If your message is straightforward and doesn’t involve too many facts and figures, why not just stand up and say it?
This was how Cicero, Demosthenes, and Churchill spoke most of the time.
To make it work, you will need to prepare your message carefully. It will force you to boil it down to the basics and concentrate on what really matters.
If you’re going to answer questions, you’ll need to know your subject well enough to be able to think on your feet. You may want to “red team” possible questions and prepare your answers to them. See “further reading” for more details!
If someone asks you to share your content electronically, you can either have a document ready with speaker’s notes or get someone to film your conversation and share the recording.
Flipcharts are an effective way to share “low-density” information visually.
They are also very useful for “co-creation,” where your presentation is more of a discussion and the output is something that you have created with your audience.
Paul Ardern, the Saatchi and Saatchi advertising legend, recommended making pitches for advertising campaign stories in this way. It allows customers to get involved in the creation process right from the start. It also demonstrates how willing you are to listen to your customers.
Sharing the results electronically is fairly easy. Simply take pictures of each completed page by phone and share them by email.
Many people present PowerPoint slides with densely written text and diagrams.
Data projectors display whatever is on the screen, so if you have already written a Word document and you know which pages you want to show, why duplicate effort by copying text onto a PowerPoint file?
If the document is a draft, it’s also possible to get peoples’ input and edit it on the fly.
It adds a touch of authenticity to the meeting. You are showing the actual document. It makes sharing the information easier and more credible since what your audience sees during the presentation is what they get.
If you’re presenting numbers, such as an ROI or a set of cost estimates or accounts, you could just show your audience the spreadsheet with the calculations on it.
The advantage of this is, once again, you can discuss with the customer how accurate your estimations are and then make adjustments on the fly. This involves the customer in the creative process which will build trust.
Some salespeople have been known to deliberately make estimated costs that might be saved, such as salaries, lower than they really are. They then let their customers correct their figures, and so the final ROI figure goes up, and it looks like the customer discovered this for themselves.
Make a video
You may expect your audience to passively consume your message, or to ask questions later.
Why not just make a video, share it electronically, and give your audience a deadline by which they must submit questions?
Video editing software is readily available and not too difficult to learn. You can use it to mix media of different formats including audio, written text, and moving images.
Once the video is complete, it’s not too difficult to share it electronically.
Do you need a presentation at all?
If you are planning to read what is on the PowerPoint to your audience and then follow up with a question-and-answer session, why not just send them the text to read before the meeting?
This will give your audience more time to “digest” the information and they can prepare questions independently without worrying about the social aspect of asking questions in front of the group.
Let’s get in touch!
Are you planning a presentation? Would you like to brainstorm alternative delivery methods? Let’s talk and see what we can put together!
Here are some more articles on the topic of presentations: