Power presenting with an iPad over coffee

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There is nothing more magical then being prepared for a meeting with information to back up your arguments. Showing is believing after all.

If you present it fluidly, can direct people from one argument to another and do so, not necessarily through words alone, but through showing of reference information, you can leave your audience in awe. Whats more they may even believe in the story, you’ve just told them.

Pictures, reference articles and video can all aid. Pulling out your trusty Mac Book Pro and firing up Keynote just does not seem as smooth as directing their attention with your gaze and finger to the iPad screen.

If your not prepared though, it can go equally just as wrong.

My tips for power presenting with an iPad are:

  • prepare, practice and preload web pages before you present;
  • order and start drinking your latte or favourite drink, making sure your guest is to;
  • talk a bit, to set the scene and to glimpse current understanding of your guest;
  • have the iPad sitting there ready (make sure you don’t need to Enter Passcode when you start using it);
  • show them something on the iPad and ask their thoughts about it;
  • never go to show something unless you’ve used it before and are comfortable with it;
  • don’t hold the iPad up to yourself, whilst talking to them – always let them see what you see;
  • make sure you have reception or a WiFi connection before you start, if you need it;
  • use your fingers and gaze to hold and direct them; and
  • smile, be confident, believe in your technology and yourself.

After practicing a couple of times, you’ll be amazed at how many people will comment positively afterwards. Having the iPad there and not a folder full of handouts is very powerfull. Once they see, you have all the information at your finger tips, they really do trust what you are saying. It becomes hard for them, to direct  the conversation away from the conclusion you are seeking. But like anything, it takes a bit of practice to get the technique correct. So enjoy the latte drinking!

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When sales has precedence over product…

You end up with a technology company like IBM?

In a set of articles on IBM, Robert X. Cringely argues that IBM is on the verge of reducing its US work force by more than three quarters by 2015. He states “The direct impetus for this column is IBM’s internal plan to grow earnings-per-share (EPS) to $20 by 2015. The primary method for accomplishing this feat, according to the plan, will be by reducing US employee head count by 78 percent in that time frame.

Further he quotes an abstract from his film Steve Jobs – The Lost Interview with what Jobs had to say circa 1995 about IBM. He believes it still applies today.

“If you were a product person at IBM or Xerox, so you make a better copy or a better computer, so what?” Jobs asked rhetorically. “When you have a monopoly market share the company is not any more successful.   So the people that can make the company more successful are sales and marketing people and they end up running the companies and the product people get driven out of decision making forums.  And the companies forget what it means to make great products.  Sort of the product sensibility and the product genius that brought them to that monopolistic position gets rotted out by people running these companies who have no conception of a good product versus a bad product.  They have no conception of the craftsmanship that’s required to take a good idea and turn it into a good product and they really have no feeling in their hearts usually about wanting to help the customers.”

Its this last paragraph that holds significant resonance with myself. I see it here in Australia with the IT providers. The management teams are Sales and Marketing. That is they do not understand what makes a good or bad product. They just sell what customers appear to want to buy. If something doesn’t sell, they move onto the next product.

Cringely further goes on to say “This is the first thing to understand about the IBM of today: the company is being run by executives who for the most part don’t understand the products and services they sell.  The IBM of today is a sales organization.  There is nothing wrong with sales if you can also deliver, but increasingly IBM can’t deliver.”.