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Workplace blogs

Humor at Work: Tell Stories, Use Humor to Make Power Points

Making Power Points Without PowerPoint

I had the great pleasure of watching a CEO deliver a talk

recently. Now usually I don’t use the word “pleasure” after I

have listened to a CEO speak. I tend more towards phrases such as

“nails-on-the-wall excruciatingly painful”. Why? Because too often

senior leaders present they stand behind the lectern clutching

it with a steely death grip, they use words that don’t appear in

any dictionary, they use jargon-speak such as “integrative customer-

centric strategic initiatives,” and they read miniature-sized text

off their 367 PowerPoint slides in a monotone voice while everyone

reads along with them. Everyone who hasn’t nodded off, that is.

But what Scott Thon, President and CEO of Alberta-based AltaLink

did in his presentation so effectively was, well, none of the above.

He spoke directly to the audience instead of to the slides. He

was real, conversational, and self-deprecating with his humor.

He told stories. He made a personal connection by telling his

own story. And he made it fun, finishing off his presentation

with a funny video spoof of the Discovery Channel’s “Boom De Ya

Da” promotional ad, starring AltaLink’s own employees (including

the CEO) singing about their core values. (Google “AltaLink Boom

De Ya Da” if you want to see the video and maybe get inspired to

do your own video!)


Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Create alternative super hero meeting titles that you only use

during your meetings. Something that captures the real essence

of what you do, or what role you typically play in meetings.

Yes, it’s a bit silly, but lightening the mood in a meeting even

in a simple, silly way keeps people more relaxed, can encourage

more dialogue and spark more creative thinking.


Quote of the Week

“PowerPoint may be state-of-the-art, but stories are

state-of-the-heart technology.” Peter Guber


It’s a Wacky World surveyed managers recently and found some rather

unusual excuses employees coughed up for being late:

– one woman claimed she was late because her karma was out of

sync (don’t you hate it when that happens)

– one man had a note signed “The Bus Driver”

– one man claimed his car was infested with bees


Copyright Michael Kerr, 2011

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