8:47 PM

Be Memorable! Rock Your Presentation Intro with a Biography Puzzle

How many presentations did you attend in 2010? 

My answer is…. no idea. A lot? Think back for a moment: all the travel, conferences, obligatory meetings, the webinars you signed up for…Nope… I still couldn’t tell you how many presentations I attended. 

I can recall the good ones - like John Mancini at AIIM's annual conference or Jess Schell's DICE 2010 keynote (WOW!). But it's rare to land the Double Jeopardy presentation: great speaker and great content.

Far too frequently, I witness the audience succumb to the relentless Blackberry itch that compels attendees to check for anything that will hold their attention or maintain a semi-conscience state (especially during the dreaded post lunch time slot).

Let’s flip it around: how many presentations did you deliver in 2010? Were you memorable? What about your content? Let’s be honest – there's one Steve Jobs. For the rest of us presentation mortals, we can use some tips and tricks. Especially when we're one of umpteen speakers in an all day line-up of back-to-back presentations – we can use a little help to up our game.

But how?

I hit Double Jeopardy last week at the annual CMO Council Summit in San Jose.

I didn’t know Chris Hummel, CMO & President of North America, Siemens Enterprise Communications prior to the CMO Council Summit. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t anticipating any life changing revelations during his keynote, How the Operationally Savvy CMO Can Become a Valued CEO Asset.

I’ve never been happier to be so wrong.

I’ve never seen a keynote delivered by a mortal in 8 slides. And with an introduction I’d call genius. Yep, Hummel is my new reigning Double Jeopardy presentation champion. The bar has been raised: compelling content and speaker with 8 slides. Actually:
 - 7 slides if you remove the title.
 - 6 if you overlook the bio.
 - 5 if you don’t count the Agenda.

In this instance, his intro was the highlight. Chris called it a “Biography Puzzle”, he captivated an entire room with 7 bullet points:
  • The Martinellis & the Walshes
  • RS – C – P
  • 14 + 8
  • Здраствуйте!
  • FSO
  • 3
  • ?
His DaVinci code approach had everyone’s attention. The next day I caught myself telling a friend about this great speaker who was part Irish, fluent in Russian, has a German last name, lived overseas for nearly a decade, in 8 countries, did a stint somewhere as a Foreign Service officer and is now the CMO of Siemens Enterprise Communications.

I’ve never seen this approach before and based on comments from the other CMOs in the room – they won’t forget Chris either. I figure if I can remember that level of detail on someone I just met - in a line-up of 20 other speakers, he's on to something. And I love that he came up with the concept just to keep the presentation interesting.

I decided to give it a try and came up with my own biography puzzle:
  • It’s all German and Greek to me
  • T •
  • 000010001100011 x 15
  • ECMM
  • CMO and/or Wired
  • Sat Nam
I suppose I could simply tell you what it means…. Nah! I’m interested to hear your interpretation, see your biography puzzle or find out what other interesting presentation tips you've seen. 

Any takers?


John Ellett said...

I couldn't resist your challenge!

- 31 and 0 in 1976
- Charlie Chaplin
- $69m to $3b in 7 years
- #1 in ATX
- 70.3 @ 50

Corinne Schmid said...

John - my first taker! I've had several direct emails with bio puzzle suggestions and comments, but you're the first to brave the challenge publicly. Thank you!

The first two - not going to touch them. Third - grew something from $69m to 3billion in 7 years - wow! If your net worth is $70.3million at 50 yrs old - why aren't you on a beach somewhere?

Chris Hummel said...

Long comment, at Corinne's request . . .she asked me to decipher the original bio puzzle **SPOILER ALERT*** the answers:
1) The Martinellis & the Walshes = my Italian and Irish heritage
2) RS – C – P = Red Sox - Celtics - Patriots denoting my hometown of Boston (sorry, I'm just not an ice hockey fan)
3) 14 + 8 = 14 yrs living outside the US in 8 different countries
4) Здраствуйте! - a polite way of saying "hello" in Russian, since I speak Russian fluently
5) FSO = Foreign Service Officer: I always wanted to be a diplomat, passed all the tests and then turned down the State Dept to build a career in IT. Go figure!
5) 3 = 3 major companies I've worked for: Oracle, SAP and now Siemens Enterprise Communications
6) ? = "?" because my real job, despite all the fancy titles, is as EEO . . . the Everything Else Officer because my role doesn't fit into any straight-forward functional or departmental definition. Hope you enjoyed it!

John Hyde, Gun for Hire at Bullet Marketing said...

Great post, Corinne. I still remember a keynote presentation I was at about 6 or 7 years ago, maybe more, by someone from IBM (I believe, but I can't even be sure about that). What I do recall is that he had 7 slides, each slide had only one word (like "trust). Each slide then became a launching pad for discussing an idea that he was central to his message. It was such a respite from the 67-slides-in-40-minutes strategy that too many presenters take. I wish I could have been at Chris Hummel's presentation; it sounds like it was great. You're blog about the presentation is quite good itself.