POWERPOINT OR A PENCIL IN YOUR EYE?

Zzzzzzzzz another boring powerpoint presentation. No doubt we would all rather stab ourselves in the eye with a pencil than have to suffer this fate again. Unfortunately the reality is we all suffer from having to look at them, and also present them.

Surely there must be a better way… or at least some help and inspiration to better refine them and make it more interesting for all parties concerned.

Here are a few top tips to think about when you are next pulling together your slides.

Subject
What are you going to address and does the audience care about it?

What is your role
Leader, Expert, Cheerleader?

Audience
Are they there because they want to be, or have to be and what will they learn?

Format of presentation
What story are you telling?
To make it more interesting please use multimedia, illustrations, photos etc, not just text, graphs or tables.
Stick to one idea per slide for biggest impact

Takeaway
Is it clear and concise, and are there any next steps?

And remember like anything with good taste…. Less is more!

Here are some great examples for inspiration – http://www.slideshare.net/mrcoryjim/smoke-the-convenient-truth-5602255

STUCK IN A JAM

I’m lucky, my commute to the office is easy. Either a 10 minute drive, or I have the option of catching the train which would cost me $1 and get me there in about the same amount of time (hey I am lazy, I choose driving!)

But some people don’t have that luxury and getting to work can be a right royal pain in the….

It seems it’s particularly so in New Delhi and Beijing where 95% of commuters say that roadway traffic on their commute has negatively affected their health.

The Commuter Pain Survey (by IBM) is based on 10 factors including commuting time, time stuck in traffic, and how traffic affects work – and the following countries come out the worse.
1. Mexico City
2. Shenzhen
3. Beijing
4. Nairobi
5. Johannesburg
6. Bangalore
7. New Delhi
8. Moscow

But if you live in Alaska, that won’t be a problem as more people walk to work there than any other U.S. state. And for the other states in the US, you can work out your commute time on the following site -http://www.trulia.com/local#commute

What about public transport I hear you say?

The cheapest public transport is –

Caracas, Venezuela (Metro, Bus=$0.12 – $0.28)
Cairo, Egypt (Metro=$0.17)
Delhi, India (Metro=$0.18 – $0.66)
La Paz, Bolivia (Bus=$0.19 – $0.50)

And the most expensive commute on public transport -

London, England (tube $6.43)
Oslo, Norway (tram, bus, metro, ferry $4.34)
Copenhagen, Denmark (metro, bus $4.20)
Zurich, Switzerland (bus, tram, train $4.08)

Based on an ‘average’ commute – driving your car to work can cost you up to 5 times more a week compared to taking public transport. But, it will also save you on average 6 hours a week in travel time… proving that time really is money!

CARD TRICKS

I am old school and love receiving a business card that is completely out of the box and wows me. Business cards are one thing that you can afford to be creative on as after all, they should leave a lasting impression. And if you receive one that you think is great you are less likely to throw it away as soon as you get back to your desk.

Visiting cards first appeared around the 15th century in China and were used as a means for aristocrats to announce their arrival to whomever they were visiting. This tradition then moved on to nobles in France and England and the business card was born!

Things to consider if you are on the market for new business cards:

Materials and Effects – Most are printed on card stock, but you may want to consider a coating, a embellishment, embossing, or specialized material (eg wood)

Size and Shape – Be creative! They can be any size and not just rectangle, think round edges, cut out shapes…

Printing Methods – Digital is the most popular, Letterpress will give you better quality and Engraved will give you another option.

Colour & Style - There are unlimited options with some imagination. Four colour process is standard and recommended. Try and keep a similar look to your website and let the card reflect what it is you actually do.

But if you are opposed to business cards you may like to try out some new alternatives.

LinkedIn has the CardMunch app that digitizes an analog card. It captures the image of a business card, recognizes it and then saves it on your phone as a contact. It also integrates that person’s information from his or her profile on LinkedIn.

You can also create a digital card using Cardcloud that can be delivered by email.

But one important tip – Try to learn the basics of foreign customs regarding presenting yourself and the exchange of business cards before your next overseas work trip, otherwise it could be over before you have even started your meeting!

BINGO!

Always worthy of a giggle in the office is “business speak”.

And I am not talking about the ability to speak in multiple languages in a meeting, rather the over-used terms that everyone has grown to hate (and can make you sound like you are trying way too hard and actually have no idea of what you are talking about).

Over the years I am sure many of you have played “bingo” with certain words in meetings. And it seems these words aren’t going away, just evolving into different, more elaborate ones. Although always great to see that some of the oldies are still in favour!

Forbes is even running a poll to vote on the most ridiculous ones. http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/annoying-business-jargons-12.html

Top tip – What not to say.
So before you get everyone on the same page to drink from the fire hose and give 110%, you may want to drill down and leverage some past learnings while thinking outside of the box. After all we have a hard stop so it will be a challenge to get our ducks in a row by then and take it to the next level.
Phew!

If you know what’s good for your career you won’t use too many of these phrases – instead deliver your message in a clear and concise way, saying exactly what you mean, in the right tone and manner.

And after all… “it is what it is” (no sh*t!!!)

HOTELS THAT RAISE THE BAR

Not excited about staying in the Marriott Hotel again, where the only option for an after work drink is in the lobby bar that hasn’t had a facelift since the 1970’s.

While we know everyone is limited by corporate hotel selection, you can still venture to these hotel bars, if only for a drink and to impress!

Here are some of the hotel bars that have been named as the best (based in cities).

Connaught Bar at the Connaught, London
What recession? Opulence at its finest. Signature drink – juleps laced with herbal Fernet-Branca

Hemingway Bar, Ritz Carlton, Paris
Decadent and full of history. Signature drink – Bloody Mary. Where it was invented for Hemingway, to disguise the smell of alcohol on his breath.

Long Bar, Raffles Hotel, Singapore
Armchairs, big ceiling fans and throwing peanut shells on the ground. Old school colonial at its finest. Signature drink – The Singapore Sling. Invented in 1915 and still going strong – the bar sells 2,000 Singapore Slings daily.

Martini Bar at the Raleigh, Miami
Keeps things art deco and classy in Miami . Signature drink – martini

Redwood Room at Clift, San Francisco
Where the in-crowd of Silicon Valley can be seen. The room is filled with digital art to keep you entertained. Signature drink – Lavender martini

New York Bar at the Park Hyatt, Tokyo
Yes made famous in Lost in Translation, this cool bar is 52 floors up with stunning views. Signature drink – Yamazaki whiskey

Bar 1200 at Sunset Marquis Hotel, West Hollywood
Celebrity spotting of the music variety is rife – so look sharp or arrive early to get in. A recording studio is on-hand near by. Signature drink – Marquis-tini

Sky Lounge at Upper House, Hong Kong
49 floors up and you will find huge windows, an amazing view and an oasis above the bustling street of Central. Signature drink – Soul Happiness

The Drawing Room at the Greenwich Hotel, New York City
Cosy and warm in Tribeca you will feel like you are in your fantasy living room. Signature drink – Manhattan

What is your favourite hotel bar for an after work drink?

CAN YOU SAY MY NAME?

Time to brush up on your linguistics. There is nothing worse than meeting business colleagues and having no idea of how to pronounce their name, or seeing other people fumble through it. Do your research people, as it can be a sign of disrespect in a lot of countries.

More than a billion people now share just 100 surnames in China, with Wang, which literally means “king”, being the most popular, followed by Li and Zhang (which has risen by 4,718% in popularity in just 13 years ). So I would take the time to know how to say these!

Presently only about 300 Chinese surnames are used. The Chinese generally address each other by family name and an appropriate title or by both family and full given name together, with the family name first. The obvious reason for this custom is that it helps distinguish all the Zhangs, Wangs etc from one another.

The most popular Western surnames are – Smith, Jones, Brown, Johnson and Williams.

Over the last 100 years, the number of people named Ahmed, Singh and Ali, has increased by more than 1000% each.

Other widely used names include – Singh, Patel, Sato, Suzuki, Takahashi, Rodriguez, Martin, Muller, Murphy, Hansen and Gonzalez.

For some fun on a Friday – see what your Chinese name would be… http://www.mandarintools.com/chinesename.html

ALL CALLED OUT

In a global working life of always being “accessible” and non-stop conference calls, it may be worth considering fighting for your right (my APAC colleagues!) not to have to get up at 2am to do a call, based on the below.

The most populated time zone in the world… GMT 8 where almost a quarter of the world’s population live! It includes areas such as Taiwan, China and Malaysia.

Conference calls have been replacing in person meetings for years now. In fact estimates say that over the next 10 years remote meetings could constitute up to 70 percent of total meetings.

But before you schedule your next one, you may want to make it a web conference. 55% of what an audience learns comes directly from the visual messages seen during a presentation (UCLA study) And that, when you combine visual messages with verbal communication, you increase retention rates from 10% (verbal only) to 50%. Which is a 400% increase (Wharton Research).