Treasure 102 – Email, Leadership, Presentations

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How do I write an email? What is Leadership? How to make good slides? A colorful treasure, in which somehow everything revolves around presentation.

Nugget #1 is a TED Talk from Victoria Turk about Email. Yes you have read correctly – EMAIL. On average one day a week is spent on it, I read recently. I took three things out of the talk:

  • Emails are only text, they do not transport emotion. So far so good, that was clear to me before. Nevertheless, we often do not act accordingly. I am a candidate who sometimes reaches for irony. In the best case the recipient calls me again and asks me “Hey, was that serious or ironic?” But what if not? Then it can quickly become a communication problem, especially if you don’t know each other that well yet.
  • “Thank you in advance” is nonsense. I have used it so far unreflected and out of friendliness. Actually it is much better to thank afterwards. This gives you the opportunity to give feedback.
  • I use the CC rule as sender as well as recipient of the email. To take someone out of a thread by setting them to BCC, I’ve seen it before, but haven’t used it myself yet.

But it is better to make the thread in an enterprise social network or forum. Everyone can decide for himself when to get on and off. In my article Digital Communication there’s more background and you find more variants of communication.

Email seems like a topic on which everything is said. Nevertheless I took something new with me. So dare to speak about your heart topic in front of others. (16 min, video, English)

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It doesn’t have to be a TED Talk. Hans-Martin Hilbig, my former boss and faithful reader of the treasure, has ventured on the boards of the stage and speaks in Nugget #2 about leadership. Many of the points seem familiar to me from my time with him. So he practiced “Walk the Talk”.
What we didn’t talk about back then is his definition of startup. Each of us is his own startup. Since the book “Business Model You” I have learned to be an entrepreneur in a company. Who are my customers? What channels do I use to communicate with them? What is my value proposition? And neglected by many, who are my key partners?
However, I have to disagree on breaking rules. Sometimes the famous exception to the rule makes sense. Examples? For a customer visit you book a hotel. The rule of your company obliges you to book with the preferred hotel chain. Your customer’s recommendation is closer to your destination and 40% cheaper. Here the rule break is probably in the best sense of the company. What would you do? (13 min, video, German)

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Are you eager to present now? In Nugget #3 TED Author Amanda Miller shares six tips for really good slide decks. The foils I see in some companies are candidates for the creep cabinet. I remember a marketing manager who had the nickname “5 pt”. That was the standard size of the font on his slides. Also here I would like to share three takeaways:

  1. Keep it simple! We engineers tend to present a topic very detailed and put everything we know on the foils. Maybe we are afraid to be perceived as not competent enough. Maybe we want to make sure that we don’t bore the experts in the audience. But if the rest of the audience think’s “It’s all Greek to me” and is left behind after two minutes, that’s of little use. Slides full of information ensure that everyone only stares at the slides, reads vast amounts of text and decodes complicated diagrams. Forget about your speaking.
  2. A picture says more than a thousand words. But the standard images or even cliparts from Microsoft often say “boring”! How about analogies from nature? The photo is on your doorstep. The right story will probably be remembered more by the listeners than a bar chart with numbers, data and facts.
  3. Blank slides provide pauses. I tend to be too fast at speaking. That’s why this tip is worth its weight in gold. The simplest variant is a completely black foil. But beware, most companies use a master with a company logo and other standard elements. This could require breaking rules again 😉

By the way, I found the article via the toolblog of Stephan List. But I chose the original article because of the visuals. (5 min, text, English)