5 TED Talk Secrets To Revamp Your Online Presentations

 22nd September 2016 by gihan

5 TED Talk Secrets To Revamp Your Online Presentations

What’s your favourite TED Talk?

If you’re a fan of TED Talks, I’m sure you will have your favourites (and if you don’t know about TED, check out – but be prepared to lose hours as you get engrossed in big ideas presented by world-class experts). Mine include some of the classics, such as:

  • Ken Robinson talking about creativity and education
  • Dame Stephanie Shirley talking about ambitious women
  • All of Hans Rosling’s presentations – and seeing the way he constantly reinvents himself as a presenter
  • All of Bill Gates’ presentations – a surprisingly engaging presenter (for a nerd!), and it’s interesting to see his evolution as a presenter
  • and many more …

TED has set a new standard for presentations.

We can thank TED for setting a new standard in presentation skills, and millions of people in businesses around the world should be eternally grateful. Audiences expect far more now from presenters – even in stock-standard, “boring” business presentations.

That’s a good thing in general, but it can be a challenge for the typical business presenter, and sometimes even for professional speakers. Most presentations are not ideas that change the world, delivered by “the” world expert on the topic.

It’s even more challenging if you’re delivering an online presentation – which is becoming more common now. Even if you’re trying to learn presentation techniques from the best TED Talks, many of these techniques don’t work in online presentations.

For example:

  • People always relate to stories, but online audiences are more impatient, and will switch off (literally!) unless you get to the point fast.
  • You would like to use the energy in the room to take your audience on a journey, but they are individuals sitting alone in front of a computer screen.
  • TED audiences are “warmed up” because they expect to hear from world-class experts with big ideas, but you need to build that rapport and credibility.
  • It’s more difficult to use humour and surprise because you don’t get feedback from your audience members (and they don’t get feedback from each other).

But all is not lost!

You can still learn from the best TED Talks, and use or adapt these techniques to make your next online presentation zing!

For example:

  • Use more humour, but in a way that doesn’t need a bunch of people to burst out laughing.
  • Tell more stories, because stories are important. But use more slides for your story, so the online audience can see it unfold.
  • Have one main message, but add a clear structure to “signpost” the presentation.
  • Design better slides, but you need to do even better than TED, because your slides are the visuals (not just visual aids).
  • Engage the audience regularly, but in more direct, interactive ways than just mentally invoking intrigue, curiosity, and surprise.

Learn More …

Of course, that’s just an overview, but I discussed these things (and more) in detail in a recent webinar with Citrix (the people behind GoToWebinar, GoToTraining and GoToMeeting). In this webinar, I share the secrets of the best TED speakers, and show you how to use them in your online presentations.

You will learn how to:

  • Build rapport with a remote audience
  • Design attractive slides (fast!) to enhance your message
  • Selectively use your webcam to provide a more personal connection
  • Shift the energy regularly with interactive engagement techniques

All of these techniques apply just as well to in-person presentations. So if you make any presentations at all, learn how to take your presentations to another level.

Watch the webinar recording here:

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Future Trends For The High-Tech Workplace

 20th September 2016 by gihan

Future Trends For The High-Tech Workplace

We have recently seen some interesting purchases, mergers and developments from high-tech companies that will affect all workplaces. In this episode, we’ll look at how they influence the future of work in general, and distributed work in particular.

Here are the news and trends we discuss in this conversation:

  • Cloud Collaboration: Microsoft recently acquired LinkedIn
  • Video Streaming: Facebook launched its Live feature
  • Augmented Reality: Pokémon Go!
  • Virtual Reality: Facebook acquired Occulus; Google plans to launch Daydream operating system
  • Tele-operations & Telepresence
  • Artificial Intelligence: Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo beat the world Go champion

Listen To the Episode

Listen to the episode here:

The Fit for the Future Podcast brings you regular ideas, interviews and insights about how you, your teams and your organisation can become fit for the future.

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Recommended Podcast: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders

 16th September 2016 by gihan

podcast-entrepreneurialthoughtleadersEvery year, the students at Stanford University have the privilege of attending a series of lectures presented by leading entrepreneurs, socialpreneurs and business leaders. Because of Stanford’s location in California, many of the presenters are well-known leaders from Silicon Valley businesses, who share their ideas about business, entrepreneurship, and changing the world.

We mere mortals don’t get to attend the lectures live, but Stanford publishes them online in this podcast, and that’s the next best thing. The videos of the lectures are freely available on Stanford University’s Web site, but frankly the audio version you get via the podcast is usually good enough. The presenters generally just tell their story without slides or other elaborate visuals. So you don’t lose anything by just listening to the audio.

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Survive and Thrive in a Customer-Centric World

 15th September 2016 by gihan

Survive and Thrive in a Customer-Centric World

The customer is not always right, but the customer is always there! Customers have more power than ever before, and smart organisations are tapping into that power to design better products and systems, prevent problems before they occur, and future-proof their success.

You can watch the recording here:

After the webinar, I asked participants “What was the most useful thing you learned today?” Here are some of their answers:

“That was amazing,the most valuable point is there is always another way and it can be made better,cheaper and faster”

“Earlier Trumps Faster”

“My actions – use Facebook group for customer support & get webinar participants to invite a colleague”

“How to involve customers/clients at each stage of a service delivery. “

“I particularly liked the idea of learning how to get your clients to do the work for you! Also the idea of bringing along a colleague to participate. While not a new idea, I tend to forget that.”

“Just thinking about how to involve customers more”

“Looking at involving clients in ALL decisions”

“Look at what is slow, bumpy and expensive (as one of first places to target)”

“Utilising customers to market for you.”

“Engage customers early in the process”

“Earlier is better than faster!”

The Future Proof Webinar Series

The Future Proof webinar series will keep you in touch with our future - what's ahead, what it means for us, and how to stay ahead of the game.

In each webinar, I'll cover an important topic about the future - for example, the shift of power to Asia, the changing workplace, healthcare technology, the shift to customer-centric business, big data, and more. This is not just theory; I'll also give you practical examples and ideas for you to future-proof your organisation, teams, and career.

Register here

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Five Things You Must Know About The Future of Conferences

 13th September 2016 by gihan


The NSW Government recently announced a trial of in-ground “traffic lights” at key intersections in the CBD, to warn pedestrians on mobile phones who don’t look up while crossing the road.

It’s been interesting to see the reactions to this idea on social media. Many people are saying it just discourages bad behaviour, and that pedestrians (or “mobile phone zombies”, as they derisively refer to them) should just look up! In fact, in Idaho in the USA, authorities have the power to fine people $50 for walking and texting at the same time.

I don’t want to start a debate about traffic lights. But I do want to point out what the NSW Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon, said, defending the new system, “In our society, things have changed”. In other words, yes, it would be nice if all pedestrians stopped looking at their phones and focussed on their environment, but they don’t! So it makes sense to change the environment to adapt to their new behaviour.

The same principle applies to conferences. Despite the growth of videoconferencing, online meetings, telepresence and virtual reality, in-person conferences still have a place. We still want to get together, face to face, and belly to belly.

But the role of the conference has changed, and smart conference speakers know it. Good speakers adapt to these changes, and great speakers embrace them and see them as opportunities.

Here are five key changes to the role of the conference – and how you can embrace them as a conference speaker.

1. From Skills to Shifts

One of the main benefits of attending a conference was to learn new skills, but that’s no longer the case. There are so many channels available for learning new skills, and a conference is no longer near the top of the list.

If you’re a speaker, focus on shifting thinking rather than teaching skills. For example:

  • Focus on how to change the audience’s minds, get them thinking differently, and inspire them on “how to get there from here” (without going into gory details)
  • Encourage fearless conversations on controversial topics
  • If you do want to teach skills, offer a breakout session or a longer keynote/breakout combination

2. From Networking to Connections

People have always attended conferences for the chance to connect and reconnect with peers and colleagues. In fact, for many people that’s one of the most valuable benefits of a conference.

If you’re a speaker, yes, that means they want to connect with you as well. So make it easy for the conference organiser to make this happen. For example:

  • Give out your contact details – especially e-mail, Web site and social media – for use on the conference Web site and in the conference app
  • Create opportunities to connect online before the conference
  • Hang around for at least the next break after your presentation to chat with the audience

3. From Event to Journey

A conference isn’t a one-off event; participants and clients now expect it to be an integrated part of their entire journey.

Help participants get more value from the conference material after they leave the room, and create ways for participants themselves to keep the learning alive. For example:

  • Suggest and provide post-conference activities that keep the learning alive after their sessions
  • Offer to help the audience create mastermind groups or “buddies” to keep each other accountable
  • Host follow-up online sessions such as webinars, videoconferencing, and mastermind groups

4. From Physical to Hybrid

Online events aren’t the enemy of in-person conferences. They can enhance and extend the overall experience. Help the conference organiser turn this event into part of a continuous learning journey. For example:

  • Provide additional online resources in a variety of formats (written, audio, video, interactive)
  • Collect your key takeaways and drip-feed them by e-mail to delegates post-conference
  • Encourage participants to create their own “Personal Learning Network” for ongoing actions

5. From Closed Door to Open Access

In an increasingly open, social, and public world, participants and clients expect – and sometimes demand – access to share, Like, rate, review, comment on, and mash up the conference material.

Help the conference organiser encourage this among participants – both inside the conference and by extending it to the outside world. For example:

  • Use the conference Twitter hashtag to spark conversations, ask (and answer) questions, and invite input and feedback – even from people who aren’t at the conference
  • Allow your presentation to be recorded or live-streamed
  • Selectively share your material – such as extracts from your slide decks, handouts, and other resources

What Will You Do?

If you want to be fit for the future, understand that the role of the conference has changed.

Of course, you have to work together with your conference organiser. Good conference organisers are open to these ideas, and great conference organisers proactively ask for them. But if they don’t ask, be willing to offer them – they will love you for it!

Want to know more about the future of conferences?

I’m delivering the opening keynote presentation, called (appropriately enough) “The Future of Conferences”, at the 9th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, 27 – 29 November 2016. If you would like to know more, registrations are now open.

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Evolved Leadership

 8th September 2016 by gihan

Evolved Leadership

Do you have to be a fear-monger to be a great leader – resorting to scare tactics and dire warnings of the future? Sally Anderson of Evolved Leadership doesn’t think so! She talks about a new kind of leadership – Co-Creative Leadership – which doesn’t deal with fear and narrow-minded thinking, but with abundance and unlimited potential.

Listen To the Episode

Listen to the episode here:

The Fit for the Future Podcast brings you regular ideas, interviews and insights about how you, your teams and your organisation can become fit for the future.

More ways to engage with me:

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The Key to Success in a Customer-Centric World

 30th August 2016 by gihan

The Key to Success in a Customer-Centric World

Last week, I delivered the opening keynote at the annual TravelManagers conference in Bangkok. The theme of the conference was “Adding Value” – an important principle in the life of a travel agent. And it’s not just for travel agents; we all have to add value in our business, so we can stay relevant and competitive.

This basic idea isn’t new – after all, business has always been about adding value. But the way we add value has changed now, and it’s because the role of the customer has changed.


For example, I recently pledged $200 to a Kickstarter campaign for a fitness gadget called “Vi”, which is promoted as “The First True Artificial Intelligence Personal Trainer”. This is a great example of how business is done in today’s customer-centric world. By investing a small amount of money, I’m involved in the product right from the start. I get regular updates, see videos of the production process, and feel like I’m part of its development.

I’m not just a customer – I feel like a partner.

This is the way businesses interact with their customers now. In a customer-centric world, your customers want to be involved.

Earlier trumps faster.

The typical product/service development phase goes like this:


To involve your customers more, follow this rule: Earlier trumps faster. The earlier in the process you involve them, the better.

Let’s look at an example at each stage, working backwards from least effective to best:

  • Feedback: Ask customers for feedback after you deliver the product or service.

    Example: Many businesses do this with feedback forms and online surveys. This is better than nothing, but it’s the latest stage in the process.

  • Support: You help your customers, but you also give them a forum to help each other.

    Example: Some businesses – such as telcos, tech companies, and others with a strong online presence – do this with customer forums.

  • Promotion (sales and marketing): Ask your customers to promote and sell for you.

    Example: When a customer signs up with Uber, they receive a referral code to pass on to family and friends for a $20 discount on their first ride (and the referrer also gets a $20 discount).

  • Delivery: Ask your customers to actually provide the product or service.

    Example: In the Welsh town Monmouth, the local council has created a Wikipedia site about the town, and local residents manage the Wikipedia pages. Tourists visit the site by scanning a QR code on a ceramic plaque attached to each place of interest.

  • Design: Involve your customers in designing your product.

    Example: Auckland City Council uses the service to announce proposed changes to road layouts, and their customers (the local residents) can suggest changes online.

  • Choice: You can even ask your customers to choose the products you offer!

    Example: This is exactly what happens on sites like Kickstarter, with the Vi product I mentioned above.

How can you involve your customers more in your business? Remember: Earlier trumps faster.

Build Trust with Virtual Team Members

 24th August 2016 by gihan

Build Trust with Virtual Team Members

In an office, people build trust through personal interactions. They work in the same building, park in the same car park, and eat at the same canteen or local cafés. They bring in birthday cakes, send their children to the same schools, and walk their dogs in the same park. They take the same holidays, support the same sporting teams, and watch the same TV shows. Even a culturally diverse team has many things in common.

This isn’t as easy with virtual team members because they just aren’t in the same place. You might try to re-create the same opportunities – for example, insisting they come in to the office from time to time – but that’s only a stop-gap solution, isn’t always possible, and can even cause resentment.

Instead, recognise that telecommuters build trust through work-related cues. They look for reliability, consistency, integrity (keeping promises), and responsiveness as indicators of trust. This is good news for you, because these factors also directly affect productivity and performance. Get these things right to build trust, and you boost productivity at the same time.

On a practical level, here are some standards you can set for your team’s everyday operations:

  • Set clear deadlines, and commit to meeting them.
  • Clarify expectations about how people respond to requests (for example, e-mail responses within one working day).
  • Choose appropriate communication channels based on these expectations (for example, using the phone, not e-mail, for urgent requests).
  • Set deadlines and milestones for a reason, and explain the reasons (“I need that delivered by 1.30 tomorrow, so I can present it to the board at 2pm”).

Don’t just dictate these as arbitrary rules; explain why they are important and how they affect the team’s performance. For example, somebody who delivers a report one hour late might see it as a minor problem, but it could affect a team member in another country and time zone, who can’t complete a presentation slide deck in time for an important meeting the next day.

Because these issues are so important to building trust, monitor them closely and act quickly if you see problems.

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