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
  • BI, CPM, ABM, APM, SOA, ITIL, BPM, BBIM
  • 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?

4 comments:

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.