Regional Presentations: Check the Facts!
If you are presenting in an unfamiliar city, please do some regional fact-checking. It's easy to find some basic city info online: demographics, key industries, sports teams, colleges -- just a few basic factoids can really help you tailor your presentation and connect with your audience.
Plus, it can prevent you from opening your mouth and saying something regionally insensitive!Here's the latest presentation horror story:
Last week, I went to a Microsoft Conference -- a traveling road show here in beautiful Grand Rapids, Michigan. The MS presenter actually said (paraphrase),
"No one really needs office furniture. With the advent of wireless networking, no one needs a desk or a workspace. How many people here have worked from home or from a cafe on their wireless devices?"
Everybody raised their hands.
His next PowerPoint slide was a desk littered with post-it notes and coffee stains.
"The office desk is simply a useless space that accumulates clutter. It isn't a real productive place. Thank goodness you don't need to waste your money on expensive office furniture any more."
And then the presenter went blithely on with his MS Productivity software pitches. He seemed unaware that we were cringing uncomfortably in our ergonomic chairs.The problem:
Grand Rapids, Michigan is the home of the office furniture industry. Just about everybody in the audience has a stake in the success of the city's key industry. I don't think the guy made any friends denigrating the importance of office furniture in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Microsoft would do well to have their employees fact-check cities before they go on the road!
But then again -- maybe MS programmers in Redmond, WA do their best work from backyard patios, noisy cafes -- and even tree houses. I wonder how a haphazardly organized approach to programming affects the quality of work.
In the interest of increasing productivity and shareholder value, do you suppose Microsoft will rid itself of desks in its cushy Redmond, Washington offices? And do they really encourage their best programmers to go work in trees
? ;)Try doing creative and inspiring work in an uncomfortable, drab, gray office. Try maintaining a professional demeanor on a cell phone in a cafe while teenagers practice their swear words in the background. Try programming cohesively when you're swinging from a tree branch!
Good luck! Let me know how that works out for you!
I know I am way more productive and creative when I work in a beautiful, quiet, well-designed office space. You?