Oh for God’s sake STOP!

As a background, I taught presentation skills at three universities for years and trained hundreds of clients. And it always confuses me why folks don’t take the time to learn the basic skills of presenting? They are not that hard to develop over a very short period of time.

With all the “online” presenting during this COVID nonsense boy have I witnessed some absolutely appalling and pitiful examples. I put it down to

“Hey, how hard can this be?”

Skippy, it is a lot harder than you think and we – the audience – are suffering through your horrible presentation!

Talk about a “lasting” brand impression? An anecdote …

I saw an ad from a major music retailer about to do an online presentation on studio monitors.

I watched two of their previous presentations online for about 5 minutes each and could not bear to watch any more. It was evil!

I cannot think about this company without the experience I had at an alleged live presentation years ago.

They set up – again a studio monitor thing – I believe I waited for about 35 min? Then I went for a beer.

It was a huge “failure to launch” moment! No sound. Full stop.

Proving as I taught for years … doing a presentation test everything, have redundant systems, and some delicate spare parts.

Again, “Hey, how hard can this be?” Well, it was obviously way too hard for those folks at the time.

I chuckle every damn time I see an ad or post from this retailer.

That my friend is a BRAND EXPERIENCE! And not a good one!

So, here are a few basics.

  1. rehearse
  2. have a script
  3. rehearse again and again and again
  4.  learn to slow down and “annunciate” your words
  5. remove any and all placeholder words (Um, like, you know, actually and others) that show just how nervous you are BECAUSE you have NOT rehearsed enough! Or you are “speaking to the slides” which a professional presenter NEVER does!
  6. look into the damn camera. Stop looking at yourself!
  7. plan your presentation … it needs a beginning, middle, and end.
  8. slides are probably NOT necessary if there is interesting reading material … we can all read, we can all download it and we DO NOT need reading off a screen as you read the slide to us. We are NOT that stupid!
  9. Please do not start your presentation with “Hi guys!’ boy that is getting old. Same goes with “Good morning, Hello all I want to thank etc etc yada yada… YOU have about 30 seconds to win an audience Start with a compelling statement to draw the folks in!

I have about 100 more tips at least …

And there is my book.

 

 

 

 

Women’s Day

Ok … As a referent point – I have played thousands of professional music gigs. Many of them with women in the bands. Singers, bassists, piano players, and horn players. Lots of them!

One, in particular,  I played with breaks my heart every time I think about her -Busi. you Zulu GoddessI love you and miss you!

Women should neither be compromised, nor marginalized, nor made to feel anything less than … well just amazing. And when I was in drum corps there were so many amazing women one particular a snare drummer -Connie – who has passed and she too breaks my heart. Love you you snare stud-ess! (Christ she could drum!)

This is the shit!

To all the serious women.

 

Logo Design

I saw a Tweet today. It is from one of my favorite accounts BCFerrys

@BCFerrys
The most interesting marine transportation system parody account in the world.

Love these guys – they have been written up by the local media and have great funny posts

like this one:

Well, prompted by this quip I thought to myself, “Self why NOT do a spoof Zero Haste logo for them?

That is when all this went off the rails.

I am not going to embarrass anyone – you do it. Search Google for Zero Waste then click “images.”

Wow. I know one thing that was never wasted was a single moment of professional design, typography, art, nor one minute of considered thought.

These – and not all, of course, there were a couple that weren’t too bad, tedious and just plain boring logos I have seen in many many years. Oh, and they are ugly.

In the “era of the amateur” where you will hear,  “Logo Design? Hell, how tough can it be?” Yet again this pseudo industry and movement have demonstrated just how hard!

Amazing!!!!

I call it a Christmas Miracle!

I have been off Facebook for most of the year with no plans to go back. I do have a “maintenance” account because I look after some pages for people for filthy lucre. Yes, I am an ad guy, therefore … a whore.

I use Twitter and Instagram mainly. It keeps me somewhat up-to-date with family and current events but I found – at least with Twitter – I was increasingly getting steamed over what I read. So, I did something about it.

Now comparatively speaking my Twitter account is no big deal. I was following 2,500 people and 1500 were following me. It made for a robust Twitter stream … but!

So I decided to cull the herd. I unfollowed or muted folks who:

  1. Had Trump derangement syndrome 
  2. Could not stop talking politics.
  3. Were all non-stop Trudeau this and Trudeau that!
  4. Were attention-seeking whores (All the time!)
  5. Were consistently whiny! “Oh, poor me! Wah!!!!!
  6. Kept retweeting or following the above.

So, off they went. I now have 2,200 folks I follow.

Now it is early sailing but in the last few days, my Twitter feed smells like a walk in a beautiful country meadow rather than a walk in New York in the 80s! (If you walked in NYC in the 80s then you know exactly what I am talking about!)

It has been refreshing. It has been a Cluetrain moment for me. You see, you are in control of your life, your social web and what you see and read.

Is this censorship?

Hell no!

This is getting rid of toxic folks who really need to get their shit together.

First of all – a lot of the folks who got dumped were Canadian and the Trumpster is really no concern of theirs. We have way bigger issues here!

Second of all if you think you will feel better by pulling at that scab – trust me, leave it be. Let it heal.

And last … no backbone, no follow. Full stop.

Happy New Year!!!

 

Sad really!

Sorry – I just love that picture! It has nothing to do with this post – and maybe that is the reason I chose it!

I run One Degree and a while back and out of indifference or a sense of sheer abandon … or cramps I posted this article.

I was wondering about clickbait? And wanted to make a point – that being, how much I hate it and that you should too!

It was and still is (I think?) the highest viewed article on One Degree. Truthfully I haven’t checked because it sickens me.

I have been a Cluetrain Guy since day one – in fact they gave me permission s to use the material in The Cluetrain for lectures. And using clickbait is just so against my beliefs – to the core. So when I saw that a recent article I posted started to skyrocket with hits I needed to look … yep, this one! I did not do this on purpose. So what we are doing on OneDegree is now serving up what I call EIS – Executive Information Services as opposed to MIS. I would do more with this but it would cost me a pretty penny. And that penny of shininess ain’t on hand! We are not Condé Nast. Shit, we aren’t even Barb Nast! So what I do daily is grab really interesting articles from 50 or so alert feeds and one hundred or so news feeds and post them. They are all – for the most part – of interest to someone like just like me! A person that was deep into the online biz, some geeky stuff, some M&A and some good old-fashioned executive management stuff.

Anyway – the pictures I use are the front page shots on the first article. Well, the one last Friday was talking about fake news and the elections. Voila!!! Clickbait attained!

Not my intent. Not what I want. But there it is. Folks clank onto that story by the thousands and thousands … I was thinking of taking it down but that to me is close to censorship. And if you know me I hate that!

Anyway a smallish Mea Culpa!

Hey, what do I know?

Greta.

A 16-year-old gets major international media attention. Kanye, Michael Jackson Tay Tay type media attention! She somehow addressed Davos, the European Union, sailed across the ocean, addressed the US Congress and the UN, then met with civic leaders and our Prime Minister.

<Insert sound of tires screeching!> Stop! Hold on just a damn minute.

I don’t know anything, but I do know to get that type of attention the following is probably true:

1 – You have three heads, just cured cancer, won a Nobel, a Pulitzer, and an Academy Award in the same week along with The Masters the US Open and married Kanye West – and even with all those you probably would not get the media attention Greta did. As quick as she did and as thorough as she did. Why? Because no one before her, let alone a 16-year-old with no credentials has ever done it.

2 – To get that type of media attention you must have a huge machine behind you. And by machine, I mean mucho dinero. And by mucho dinero, I mean more money than God!

She allegedly has a PR guru Ingmar Rentzhog. But even a PR Guru needs money. She gets a film made arranges a sail across the ocean .. travel hotels, meal expenses and on and on and so on and so forth. That in itself is more money than an ordinary, as she is billed, 16-year-old has let alone be able to rent a hotel without a credit card… at 16!

No PR Guru does this on spec. There is more to this than meets the eye. Or Greta is smarter than anyone that ever lived and/or richer and has more Klout than say, George Soros. (Sorry, Did I say that?)

Lemme splain!

Try this … just for shits and giggles, call up a random large company – hell, make it your bank and tell them you want to speak with … nay, meet with the President and Chairman tomorrow.

1 – You would be lucky to speak to a real person calling your own bank. That would then involve several left messages and “Press 1 for la de da Press 3 for la de da etc and if someone ever did get back to you …

2 – Your request would be denied. Full stop. “Who da fuck do you think you are?”

3 – If you did get a meeting it would be in 3 – 4 weeks at the very least and probably canceled before that

4 – And, If you did get the meeting it would be the shortest 2 minutes of your life. “You want what?” “Get out!”

Now, if you happen to be worth $20 billion, or your name rhymes with Aga Khan, and there is the slightest possibility of some of your moolah falling off the top of your dresser into their bank … well, they would have already been calling you, wouldn’t they? And the idea of calling your bank is moot! Or, if you are someone with Klout – and by Klout, I mean the Sonia Bata* type Klout where she could pick up the phone, call Prince Charles and demand he does something immediately … Klout – then they are in a constant state of salivating waiting for your call. Or they have set up a banking office at your place of business. I call that “acolyte banking.” (When I was running BBDO we set up an office at Chrysler in Windsor. “Acolyte Advertising” at its best!)

*Yep, she could! I worked with her. God, I loved that woman!

For this young girl to accomplish anything on her own involving more than doing a shitty, badly spelled, bristol-board-poster for show and tell day – especially of this magnitude – is impossible – folks it involves Klout of immense proportion.

Who’s? I don’t know, I don’t care and I care not to guess but I will bet dollars to dog biscuits that there were some pretty powerful phone calls made. And not by Little-Old Greta.

Here is another example to demonstrate where I am coming from. When I was in the business – a Creative guy who could sell – I had two tricks.

1 – Golf. 4 hours of undivided attention with your best client. (Always let him/her win.) If they golf they will always say yes to a lovely round at your private club avec service and primping and a fine meal. Trying to remember a golf date that did not end up in more business? No, it never did!

2 – If I was wooing a client I would always try and arrange a dinner with him and make sure I invited his best customer along and let them know who would be there. Funny how the potential client always showed up! And trying to remember if that ever failed? No, it did not!

One thing I do have an abundance of is common sense and for all my life “If something seems too good to be true it probably is.” Or, “if something just seems weird … it is.”

Truth is something I have valued all my life and anytime I have been a party to “truth: or heard the absolute “truth” it has been not only enlightening but life-changing.

That is how fucking rare the truth is! And in the Greta story, I think the truth is not in plain sight!

Incongruous

I have been noticing a bit of a trend.

Now, full disclosure, this is anecdotal and I have no data or statistical proof … but it is a feeling. A pretty strong feeling!

I see some fairly large and revered brands on Social Media (Pretty much everyone is on now!) and it looks like a lot have hired the same bright-eyed-bushy-tailed-youngsters to run their accounts.

Why do I say that?

Well, the abundance of cat and puppy posts emanating from some serious companies. The senseless rhetorical question and the stuff that is simply neither aligned with the particular brand nor their industry – it makes ya wonder?

Yes, the old guys and gals (Jesus, are there any left?) in management probably wouldn’t know a Tweet from a CPC, from a Pin, to a “Like!” And that is understandable. BUT – you’d think the marketing-types or the agency folks might notice?

Hiring some bright-as-a-button-Young’un to post your Tweets and run your SM that doesn’t know what your brand represents nor your industry is a waste of time and money. And for the kids doing this – save all that fluff for your personal accounts.

I am still scratching my head at the latest Funeral Home Contest …

Social Media … a small rant

I am off Facebook. But, I go on occasionally to work on three pages I manage. If they were mine I would delete them, but they are someone else’s and they pay me filthy lucre to manage them. So I do it. Yes, I am a whore.

And while I was just there I noticed reports of a disaster and 257 comments under the post. Yes, it was like holding out a spanking new pack of Camels to an ex-smoker. I peeked.

About comments. People know everything about everything. All the folks that comment are experts on all topics. Know-it-alls.

So?

Why can’t I get a decent breakfast?

You know eggs the way I like em? The bacon is done right? Served hot? But probably Jimmy or Molly who trips over themselves and is my “bubbly” servers are experts in sabotage, espionage and RCMP searches. But they can’t take an order!

Why can’t I find a salesperson who isn’t a douche?

“Hi, any today Ma’am?” And then the non-stop list of features – not listening and hoping against all hopes I will say yes to a widget of some sort? But an expert in Euro-politics and bitcoin!

Why can’t I get a repairman who is worth his money?

But he comments under “Savoir Sam” the ins and outs of nuclear physics the arbitrage rates and what the Illuminati think?

Why do ads suck so much?

But lil Sally or Bobby ad-person can explain why the marketing of a multinational 400 billion dollar company sucks!

Why do my servers keep crashing?

But the fucking nerds who are supposed to keep the lights flashing are on Reddit castigating someone’s taste in backsplashes!

You see, we are sadly a people prone to failure. Screw “Zero Defect” and “TQM”. Most folks couldn’t find their arseholes in the dark with either thumb. And don’t!

That is sadly where the Cluetrain and the whole Social Media thing fell apart. Every-fucking-person is now Cliff Clavin.

Rutger Hauer RIP

I don’t know what my appeal is. I can see I’ve got blue eyes and don’t look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame but I can’t understand the fuss. Rutger Hauer

Sad.

I loved all of his work.

A bunch of years ago a woman, an associate, I knew in and around the ad biz and who I did some work with was telling me of a commercial she was trying to cast. She was working on getting the fabulous villain actor from Die Hard – Alexander Godunov – but was having scheduling issues. I said, “Why don’t you get the original?”

You see, Godunov had replaced or mimicked Hauer in his Guinness commercials in Europe and although I thought Mr. Godunov was wonderful … there was no replacing Mr. Hauer in my books.

She called me a few days later and said she was successful in getting Rutger and he was very grateful that I had thought of him and recommended him to her and asked if I would like to come to the set during production?

I said I was more than flattered. But, I hate production sets. I, however, imagine he has to eat while he is here so could I treat you and Mr. Hauer to dinner and perhaps cocktails after?

My associate called me back right away and we scheduled the night a week out.

Well, sadly as in all things in the ad or movie biz everything got canceled. No shoot. No Rutger.