It’s In The Presentation!

Culinary Presentation

The above photo is spot on! Most people would choose the dish on the right. How much extra effort did it take to construct the one on the right?

ANSWER: Not much!

I draw three powerful lessons here:

1. Presentation is important

  • Makes your product/service seem more valuable
  • Makes your customer think highly of you
  • Makes you look credible

2. It is very easy to do – a small reorganization of the same ingredients (data) is all it takes (as you see in the photo).

  • It’s not revolutionary changes, it is small improvements that make the difference (e.g. are you starting strong?, are you passionate?, are you engaging?)!

3. First impressions do matter

  • When you hear, “That doesn’t look very good”, what are they chances they will try it?
  • Professional speakers and trainers have long asserted that people make up their minds about people they meet for the first time within two minutes (It is actually less than that according to the book, “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell).

How can you step up your presentation game (client meetings, relationships, business meetings, etc.)? When was the last time you took a class or asked for feedback on the way you look, talk, and engage?

Stop being normal and start being gourmet!

(Hint: Anyone can do it!)
Drew Patterson, MBA


What You Learn In Sales

I recently stumbled upon this article “One Job That Could Guarantee Your Success” by Joel Peterson. After reading it I could not agree more. Why do MBA students resist sales?

In the article he notes 4 different key skills a salesman develops in his career:

1) Conquer rejection: cold-calling, market surveying, and… rejection.

2) Hone your networking skills.

3) Tackle and solve problems.

4) Rise to the top using your negotiation, pervasive, and communication skills.

There were so many bright MBA students I met in my MBA program, but a significant number of them had not worked on those four skills. If they were armed with those skills in addition to all the other material we learned in the MBA program, the sky would be the limit!

Going back to school may be a larger commitment than you may be looking for, but what about the above skills? When is the last time you took yourself out of your comfort zone and worked conquering rejection, or networking, or even communicating? Help yourself, and your company will take notice.

Link to article

Drew Patterson, MBA

Social Media

I was riding my bicycle up a steep hill when my mp3 player begins to play Daft Punk – Television Rules the nNation/Around the World. It’s a good song when you need that little bit of energy to get you over the top. At the very beginning of the song, the singer states, “Television rules the nation.” I immediately thought back to a marketing book I am reading on social media. The book gives the following statistics on social media:

·         Radio took 38 years to reach 50 million listeners.

·         TV took 13 years to reach 50 million viewers.

·         Internet took 4 years to reach 50 million users.

·         Facebook took 9 months to add 100 million users.

While you can certainly debate the comparability of the various outlets (for example, the number of people who had TVs when they were first introduced to the market, versus the number of internet users when Facebook came on the scene), but, generally speaking, the data does paint a picture. When the next “big thing” is introduced to the market, it will likely grow and dominate markets faster than ever. The way we advertise, how we interact, and how we consume information will change — it’s just a matter of time. And, that time is coming sooner that we think!

Drew Patterson, MBA


Running a marathon requires training and pace.

Great presentations require training and pace.

Recently, at a sales presentation, I was told my pace was “very good.” And, only several days prior, while at a party, the person with whom I was speaking remarked that I “speak fast- like a salesman.” It’s interesting that in one situation my fast talking was considered an asset, and in a different situation, my pace somewhat impaired a conversation.

The question I was left with was: could my conversations and presentations be even better if I trained myself to either slow down, or experiment with different paces?

I believe that the answer is yes.

Many activities in life require some sort of pace – exercising, eating, working, and relationships – to name a few. Think for a moment: do you ever stop while you’re eating to think about how fast you’re eating? You may be surprised to realize that inhaling a sub sandwich in 2 minutes is not mandatory! Similarly, the next conversation you have, stop and think about how quickly you’re talking. Observe the other person. Do they look engaged? Confused? Bored?

Most of us – myself included- form habits that are so deeply ingrained in our lives, we don’t realize their impact, and the impression they can leave with others. Question your habits, get out of your comfort zone, and try to change up your pace.

Eating Fast

Think he should slow down a bit?

And, as always, don’t forget to ask for feedback from people you trust and admire.

Drew Patterson, MBA

Presentation Dynamics Two

The moment you all have been waiting for is finally here. You hear me giving advice and critiquing others, but, what about Andrew Patterson? What are his weaknesses? And, more importantly, how can his weaknesses help you?

Master the elevator pitch.

Master the elevator pitch.

First off, I will critique my two-minute Netflix pitch that I had to give in a class.

I started preparing for the speech about two weeks prior to speech day. I sought out more information then what was provided in our case study so mine would be unique and different. About four days before the speech I practiced at least five times. I aimed to memorize the speech.

The moment of truth: Right before the speech, I felt my heart rate speeding up; I started deep breathing to calm down. The second thing I did was raise my hands and did a “power pose.” Power poses actually affect your body’s chemistry (I will write a post on this next week).

Overall, my speech went well. I had a great hook, some funny moments, and memorized some key data to show that I studied. Lastly, my closing statement had a call to action: “I urge you to give me a few hours of your time next week to discuss this further.”

What did not go well:

Problem #1: There was a punch line joke at the end of my hook, but because I was speaking quickly, by the time the audience started laughing I was already in the next part of the speech.

Solution #1: Pay attention to the audience more. Feed off of their energy.

Problem #2: Speaking too quickly, I timed myself at home and was right around the 2 minute mark. During the presentation the teacher clocked me at 1min 35 sec.

Solution #2: Take more pauses to help remind you to slow down. And, practice in front of larger groups of people to simulate similar conditions.

Problem #3: I smiled too much! I hid behind my smile and friendly personality. It can be good to show signs of seriousness and professionalism. Often I come across as “the nice guy.” Many times, however, showing confidence and authority can go a long way.

Solution #3: Think of yourself as an actor. Remember that facial expressions, catch phrases, and physical gestures impact how others perceive you.

I invite you to incorporate suggestions I have offered, and think about unique ways in which you can improve your own presentations and speeches. Presentation skills are valuable! Stay hungry and look for new ways to improve.

Andrew Patterson, MBA

Lead Through Inspiring Others

I recently attended a workshop at California State University East Bay. The workshop was put on by Tom Bagwell, with guest speakers Alison Meyer and Gina Steele. The topic: “Lead Through Inspiring Others.” Having already taken courses with Tom, I knew I was in for 8 intense hours of creative learning.

If you have an MBA or are considering one, chances are, you will be managing people. Start developing your skills today. Let me share with you some great points during the training.

Communication Principle – Hand, head, and heart. What is more important — your words or your body language?

I hope this draws a clear picture:


What do employees want? Most managers think employees want higher wages and job security. The truth, however, indicates something less tangible:


Finally, we learned the art of storytelling. Weaving stories into your everyday communication is a sure way for people to remember you.

  • Good stories relate to universal feelings
  • Provide clear beginning, middle, and end
  • Vertical takeoff (hook)
  • Vocal variety (remember heart = passion/tone)
  • Heroes and mentors in the story

These were just some of the many things we learned in workshop. Like most things, remember to practice, practice, practice your communication and presentation skills.

Andrew Patterson, MBA