Trouble at Halftime: Leaders, Don’t Make This One Presentation Mistake

A funny Onion Article Shows That
Inspiration Isn’t on the Printed Page

by Pete Weissman, Founder, Thought Leader Communications

The Onion strikes again! Those brilliant writers cracked me up with this article:  

“Jim Caldwell Provides Lions Players With Printouts Of Inspiring Halftime Speech”

But they hit on a larger truth that I see working with our executive clients.

(In fact, I had my graphic designer create the image above.)

The Onion’s premise is absurd. But how many times have you sat through a presentation where the speaker filled every inch of the PowerPoint slide with text and expected to somehow inspire you? In the setting of a football locker room, it is ridiculous. In the auditoriums of large companies and convention halls, it is all too common.

Too many executives think a speech is simply sharing information. They miss the power of a well-delivered speech to motivate and align their team. There is a performance aspect to any talk. Nail that, and you can unlock the full potential of your team.

The article also reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Roberto Goizueta, the legendary Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.

“Communication is the only task you cannot delegate.”
– Roberto Goizueta

Mr. Goizueta understood that there is no substitute for talking directly to your team. (I had the great honor of working for another legendary Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO, and I was always amazed by his ability to engage and inspire his audiences.)

The Takeaway:  Before you give a presentation, ask yourself these three questions:  

  1. Does my speech have a good balance between appealing to the head and appealing to the heart?
  2. Will delivering this speech “rally the troops” much more than just handing them a printout of the text?
  3. Does the conclusion of my speech lift up the audience’s spirits?

An effective presentation is more than just a “data dump.” If you need help inspiring your team, whether on the field of sports or field of business, please drop me a line.

P.S. My all-time favorite Onion story is:

New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less

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