I tend to criticize some TV shows. My wife says that I am too picky, that I must accept the way it is and forgo my belief. One of my pet peeves is the general lack of basic tactics in war scenes. That may be because I taught tactics for three years while I was in the Army. I recently watched the pilot for the new science fiction TV series, Defiance. In the pilot, an alien army attacks the old city of St. Louis, now named Defiance. The attacking army has to march through a narrow pass, an ideal place for an ambush. Sure enough, the humans and their alien friends occupy the pass and set an ambush.
Basic tactics would dictate that when advancing into hostile territory an army should have a point element well in the front. These soldiers are usually scouts. A large army would have an advance guard. The mission of the point element or advance guard is to warn the main body that the humans and their alien allies have set up an ambush in the pass. The army would also have a rear guard to prevent a surprise attack from the rear. Sure enough, in this pilot, a group of friendly aliens riding motorcycles attacks from the rear. Saw that coming. I do not understand how these aliens can travel through space faster than the speed of light and yet not master simple tactics.Below I have posted the rest of Chapter 7 from my new e-book, Leadership for New Managers: Book Two, http://smashwords.com/b/300090. Use coupon code WL23B for a free copy.
Often a leader/manager will have to make a presentation. Visual aids are useful, but they should support the message. Leader/managers needs to master Microsoft’s PowerPoint and/or Apple's Keynote or whatever software they use for presentations.
a. Be Consistent
Use the same theme and colors on very slide otherwise the audience will be confused or distracted. The same goes for fonts and sizes. Keep in mind that colors can set a mood or tone so. Bright colors convey energy and excitement, while dark colors are more conservative. If the lights will be off, choose a darker background color, such as dark blue, black, or gray, with white or light-colored text. If the lights will be on, choose a white or light-colored background, with black or dark-colored text.
b. Consider the Audience
I once saw a manger give a presentation on how to use a software program to a group of mechanics, many of whom never used a computer before. The speaker was talking about “right click”, “left click”, and “double clicks” and the mechanics had no idea what he meant. Before creating visual aids, know the audience.
c. Use Images Intelligently
Thoughtful images keep the audience engaged, reinforce professionalism, and make a lasting
impression. One or two clip art can enhance the slide, but do not overdo it.
d. Break Complex Data Down
Too much data on one slide will lose the audience. Summarize the information, or split it up over several slides. It is a good idea to use handouts. Handouts allow the audience to take notes, follow along, and review the data later.
e. Keep It Simple
Use the KISS principle: Kept It Simple, Stupid. Each slide should convey one idea or concept so that the audience will grasp it quickly. Keep the text to a minimum and use an image to convey a message rather than words when possible. Each slide should take three seconds or fewer to process. If it takes longer, the slide is probably too complex. Avoid bulleted lists whenever possible. If bullets are used, use few words then use the narrative to explain. Highlight key words in every sentence.
Use a plain background with plenty of blank space: This will help the audience focus on the message. Avoid decorating slides with background pictures, logos or patterns that could distract attention.
Poor presenters tend to use big words to sound more important. For example, they might say “methodology” when they mean “method”, (methodology is the study of methods). One of the biggest mistakes I see in presentations is when the presenter makes up words. If spellchecker says it is not a word, do not use it.
It is a good idea to write out the presentation ahead of time and to follow all the rules for written communications. By practicing the presentation, leader/managers look professional and confident when they make their pitch. Know exactly what to say with each slide. With the narration, each
slide takes about one minute. Speaking enthusiastically will maintain the listeners’ interest and involvement. Makes appropriate eye contact when speaking. Uses appropriate gestures. This may require practice. For example, on a graph rather than using a pointer to follow a line on a graph, merely point to the start and the end.
I love humor but leader/managers need to be careful how they use humor. Humor can cause problems when it offends someone. Humor must never be sexual, racial, or harassing. Usually, it is best to leave the humor up to the most senior person present. Never forward or circulate humor/jokes on organizational e-mail networks.
Sarcasm is the cruelest, crudest form of humor. Associates often misunderstand it. Leader/managers should avoid sarcasm.
is usually unacceptable in most professions and industries. Leader/managers
should avoid it.