Presentation Skills Success

Presentation skills success is based on following a practical presentation strategy and learning the techniques for delivering superior presentations. This website includes the important presentation fundamentals you need build your presentations. From there you can learn and practise the presentation techniques - because a superior presentation is about technique. To make you an even better presenter we offer you presentation tips, ideas and examples.

Presentations Skills: If you already know how important it is to be a better communicator, presenter or speaker - then this website is the resource for you. This website will show you how to be a better presenter. If you are only looking for a magic presentation pill then this site is not for you. This is a "how to be a better presenter" website. Enjoy, George Torok.

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Presentation Skills News

Thought Leaders
To Lead, Tell A Story
Christian D'Andrea and Adam Nemett 10.12.09, 12:20 PM ET



Storytelling has always helped people deal with change. As civilizations ebb and flow, stories are the essential tools that help us calibrate our humanity, rally our spirit and thrive in crisis. They help us remember who we are and imagine what we can be.

Lucius Cincinnatus was a Roman leader who came to his nation's defense and then spurned a dictatorship and returned to his farm as soon as he had saved Rome. George Washington knew and loved Cincinnatus' story, and so did many of his countrymen. Having led the fledgling U.S. through storms that nearly tore the country apart, Washington returned to his own farm, possibly his greatest act of leadership. In so doing, he struck a profound blow for the republic, sending a clear message that the leaders of the new country could not be kings.

Washington was widely compared to Cincinnatus. He became the first president of the Society of the Cincinnati, an organization of Revolutionary War veterans who honored the comparison with Cincinnatus. America drew on the story of the Roman general as we draw on the story of George Washington. Stories are the fuel cells that store our shared resilience and ideals. We draw on those fuel cells in times of crisis.

Corporations need culture-shaping stories just as nations do, because stories can be much more than entertaining yarns. They can be engines driving real change at the highest organizational levels.

A recent Gallup Management Journal article, "Four Disciplines of Sustainable Growth," suggests that identifying and highlighting key moments in corporate history "creates the right heroes in your organization. If you want to understand the culture of Great Britain, look to its heroes, myths and legends. Each of these war stories, retold in countless history books and classrooms, captures the spirit of 'determination in adversity' that the British so prize in themselves. By studying your best performers, you will gather the raw material you need to tell the right stories and create the right heroes."

In 1988, two major banks, Fleet and Norstar Bancorp, merged. Initially their cultures clashed brutally. A solution was found in their history. A centuries-old portrait was discovered that showed Norstar's founder holding a letter addressed to the founder of Fleet. One of the men, it emerged, had helped free the other from a British garrison during the American Revolution. The founders had been dear friends.

The story behind this portrait was told to management, employees, trainees and business prospects, in magazine advertising campaigns and in a 17-minute documentary. It gave both banks a sense of shared ancestry and helped them build a sense of shared destiny.

If the two banks had approached their merger armed just with PowerPoint presentations and lists, they couldn't have engendered the kind of morale boost and cultural harmonization that led to smooth integration and future growth. The PowerPoint shows would have focused on the wrong things. Slides crammed with bullet points listing all the analytical reasons why the merger was terrific--resources amplified, revenue amplified, assets amplified, etc.--could be nowhere near as compelling, or as capable of effecting change within a workforce, as the story of a portrait was.

Here are the three basic reasons why businesses need stories now more than ever:

Reason No. 1: Stories help companies rally and persevere in times of crisis and preserve what's essential during times of change. They are the most effective way to communicate how companies have overcome difficulties in the past and will overcome them again.

Reason No. 2: Stories are cost-effective. They build on an organization's experience, drawing on assets a company owns but hasn't made the most of.

Reason No. 3: The business world has shifted too far in the direction of the analytical at the expense of the cultural. In a recent New York Times review of Justin Fox's book The Myth of the Rational Market, Paul Krugman observed that the American financial system had allowed itself to be almost entirely shaped by academic and financial experts committed to ever more complex mathematical instruments and models. Math was exalted over memory and judgment. Look where that got us.

Brilliant mathematicians will, of course, always be essential to business. But companies need culture and values just as much. And culture and values are preserved and passed on through stories.

Research in cognitive psychology has shown that people are 22 times more likely to remember a story than a series of bullet points. The business consultant John P. Kotter points out in his book A Sense of Urgency that "neurologists say that our brains are programmed much more for stories than for abstract ideas. Tales with a little drama are remembered far longer than any slide crammed with analytics."

Engaged employees don't simply collect a paycheck. They believe in their companies, and that makes them better producers and corporate citizens. You get this level of alignment and enthusiasm when a community of employees shares a powerful mythology in its hearts, rather than a laundry list of numbers in its heads.

Christian D'Andrea and Adam Nemett run the Idea Engine at The History Factory, which designs story platforms for organizational messaging for companies and countries. To find out more go to or e-mail



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George Torok is a writer for Toastmaster magazine on presentation skills

George Torok is a frequent contributor to Toastmaster Magazine. He has presented at more than a dozen conferences for Toastmasters plus two international conventions. Toastmasters is the world's leading organization that teaches presentations skills.


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