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Presentation Writers Block? Get Unstuck with Upside Down Thinking

Great presentations, often start with great ideas, but what do you do when the new ideas aren’t flowing? How do you overcome presentation writers block?

We recently met Haiku Deck Pro subscriber, Forbes contributor, and business transformation consultant Patricia Cotton,  who has devoted her career to helping individuals and organizations unlock their creativity using a unique method she calls, Upside Down Thinking.   Using this method and presentations created with Haiku Deck, she facilitates Upside Down Thinking business retreats and workshops, keynote speeches and creative consulting. We asked Cotton about her method and advice she gives to leaders on change management, presentations, communication, and more.

What is Upside Down Thinking?

Upside Down Thinking is a mindset that helps individuals and organizations to transform new ideas and intuitive knowledge in reality, by fostering new ways to manage change & creativity. Although turning one’s thinking upside down is rather an unnatural and even painful process, it may unleash innovation, leading to unexplored, creative and also more authentic solutions.

It sounds like a big part of change management has to do with the way leaders communicate change to their organization. What are the most common mistakes you see leaders make when they communicate with their teams and what should others do to avoid the most common pitfalls?

It’s very common to see leaders assuming that new ideas will be embraced organically by their teams simply because they make logical sense for the business. However, one should not disregard the crucial power of human emotions, including the voices of fear, cynicism and judgment which tend to appear in change moments. Since telling is not selling, one should communicate any new strategy followed by an emotional link and reward, dealing with doubts, engaging with resistance and managing emotions. In a nutshell, leaders should move from the head to the heart when communicating with their teams.

How can Haiku Deck users apply upside down thinking to improve their presentations?

First of all, I would recommend inverting the natural flow of your presentations by focusing more on fostering emotional connection rather than sharing hard data. After establishing a certain level of trust, I’d suggest playing with the “sacred cows” of the industry, company and/or field of to which the audience belongs, questioning their crystallized (and probably limiting) beliefs, and reframing them in the opposite way. This can be a fun and unexpected way to unleash innovative thinking, reaching deeper levels of reflection and engagement. In order to support this process, it is worth checking out the open source tool Reframe.

What steps do you take to prepare for success in giving talks and running workshops?

Well, first of all, I do certain things in order to create time and space for preparation, such as getting rid of urgent and mundane tasks, meditating and being on my own at home. After creating the conditions to have a certain level of peace of mind, I start immersing into the workshop/talk topic, looking back on what I already built on it, as well as doing some new research and seeking for inspiration in random and non obvious sources.

Last but not least, I use Haiku Deck to inspire and organize my thinking. Haiku Deck is a support for all of my business presentations such as workshops, corporate talks, consulting reports and institutional presentations.It has always made a big difference to boost the quality of my presentations as well as the quality of my thinking, since it provokes me to nail the essence of things so that I can better communicate it.

What advice can you offer to Haiku Deck’s community as they think about their talk or workshop?

Being simple = being effective.

In Forbes you describe how optimism, risk-taking and self-confidence are extremely beneficial as change drivers. What advice do you give to leaders who are trying to show these traits when effecting change in their organization?

Be aware that these qualities can be highly contagious if shared and practiced with consistency over time. Also, bear in mind that is possible to spread and sustain these traits by building a courageous culture that is less risk-averse and more open to innovation. All this combined will probably foster the necessary organizational resilience to support you and your business in change moments.

Patricia Cotton is a Corporate Marketing & Business Transformation Consultant with fifteen years of experience in Strategic Marketing, Corporate Branding and Change Management, working across Real Estate, Cosmetics and TV. Patricia holds an MBA in Creative Leadership from the Berlin School and Marketing from ESPM, Rio de Janeiro. She also holds a B.A in Communications from PUC-Rio, Brazil, and University of Leeds, England. Visit her web site to learn more about Upside Down Thinking

Career and Leadership Coaching Presentations: Q&A with Polly Chandler

Polly Chandler is a Tiburon California-based coach and facilitator that specializes in leadership development and career transitions. Before starting Chandler Coaching, she coached and taught students and faculty at Antioch University New England, where she served as Program Director for the MBA in Sustainability and Chair of the Department of Management for 10 years. An early Haiku Deck Pro subscriber and advocate, Polly recently shared her thoughts on coaching presentations, storytelling, and how effective presentations make a difference for her practice and her clients.

What makes your approach to leadership and career coaching unique?   

My approach is strengths focused, I support people in understanding their strengths so they can build from where their talents, values, interests, and even passions intersect.  I work with people to see that most of their challenges come from misapplication of their strengths, 70% of weaknesses are just an over or underuse of a top strength.  This is a powerful construct for people to use.  I focus on high energy and high performance.   I also do team trainings and integrate experiential learning and outdoors as much as possible

How do you use Haiku Deck in your practice? 

I use Haiku Deck to illustrate key concepts in a strengths based approach.  I have a series of decks that I develop based on a client’s goals.  For example, when I was working with First Five, I selected photos to tell the story of strengths through images about children.  When I work with healthcare, I select photos to tell their story.  Haiku Deck allows me to design customized decks that unfold as stories.

(Here’s an example of a Haiku Deck Polly used to help a group start thinking about how we would be working together)

Imagine it’s January 2017 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

How has Haiku Deck made a difference for you and/or your clients?   

It’s easy to keep my role as a facilitator, not a lecturer.  I use the slides to open dialogue and conversation.  I believe that best learning happens with content and discussion, not just content.  I design decks so people learn to think about presentations as a story and conversation, not just a list of facts.

Before becoming a full-time coach, you were Chair of the Department of Management at Antioch University. How has your role as a teacher and department leader impacted your approach to coaching? 

One of the reasons I left Academia, was because I found my greatest energy and performance came when I was coaching students and faculty. I had talents and strengths in this role and I loved it.  I decided to spend more of my time doing what I loved most.  This is a great story to share with clients as I encourage them to leverage their strengths to do more of what they love.  My goal was to have more “best days at work”.  I also was determined to find a way to work outdoors as much as possible.  I do most of my coaching outdoors.  I do not have an office.  I prefer to meet clients in person outdoors.  If it is phone call coaching, I work from outdoors in a park or other beautiful setting.  Today, I sat on a bench overlooking San Francisco Bay.   If there are children playing, birds chirping, or other outdoor sounds, I just explain that I work where it gives me energy.  I try to encourage others to do the same.

When you coach leaders, what advice do you give to help them craft and deliver more effective storytelling to their teams, partners, and clients? 

Be a guide and storyteller.  People get overwhelmed by facts.  Design and deliver slides that weave together a story of facts, impressions, learnings, and insights.  Be a guide on the side.  Form a relationship with the audience through images that speak a common language.  Build a connection with the audience by building on shared knowledge.  Be a slide guide and customize all your presentations to meet the needs of your audience.  Never give the same talk twice.  Don’t give canned talks. They sound tired.  Come up with new ways of delivering every presentation to meet the needs, strengths and passions of your audience.

You mentioned that you’ve been an advocate for Haiku Deck. How do you describe Haiku Deck to others?

I ask people to tell me…What was your favorite children’s book? (Or if they are a parent, what is your favorite book to read to your child).  I then ask, why was it your favorite book.   Nine times out of ten the response is, the illustrations were so wonderful and there just was not a lot of need for words.  To me, that is Haiku Deck.  Finding excellent images to tell the story with as few words as possible.  I find I love building the decks now that I am out of the PowerPoint platform.  PowerPoint did not have the same creative potential for me, unless I decided to spend a lot of time learning.  Haiku Deck was easy, fast and I have had great success with audiences.

To learn more about Polly and her coaching practice, visit  www.pollychandlercoaching.com.

Are you a coach using Haiku Deck to deliver impact with your clients? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at team@haikudeck.com.

How Real Estate Agents Ace their Listing Presentations with Haiku Deck

We were pleasantly surprised to recently see Haiku Deck hailed yet again by real estate technology blog Inman as a way for agents to ace their listing presentations. We’ve known this ever since one of our earliest fans told the same publication about the time he used Haiku Deck to score a $1.4M property listing.

Turns out thousands of real estate professionals are using Haiku Deck for all kinds of presentations from market trends analyses to comparative market reports, to decks that showcase a neighborhood, to professional profiles or vacation rental marketing materials.  Aside from the fact  that Haiku Deck works great with iPad and iPhone (as well as the web), realtors love that sales and marketing materials can be easily shared through social media, embedded in blog posts, shared with clients as links, or downloaded to .pdf or .pptx formats for offline sharing and printing.

We’ve collected templates that can be instantly copied and customized, testimonial quotes, and more information on our real estate page, but thought we’d also share some of what we’re hearing on Twitter from real estate professionals around the world. If you’re using Haiku Deck to drive your real estate business, will you tell us your story? Drop us an email at team@haikudeck.com.

Expert Presentation Tips from “The Communicator,” Gina London

At Haiku Deck, we’re all about helping you make presentations like an expert and, as part of that mission, we’re always searching for accomplished communicators and presenters from around the world. I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Gina London, an Emmy winning former CNN correspondent and anchor who is now an internationally recognized communications strategist and consultant.  Author, speaker and writer of the weekly business column, “The Communicator” in Ireland’s largest circulated newspaper, The Sunday Independent, Gina is a Director with Fuzion Communications and an American who now calls Ireland home. Here’s what she had to say about delivering your message like an expert:

What is something you learned as a CNN correspondent and anchor that helps you with your communication clients?

Above all, I know how to take any topic and break it down into a memorable story and deliver it confidently.

The rigor of CNN’s 24-hour news cycle made me extremely adept at crystalizing. This means more than oversimplifying, it’s the skill to be able to synthesize the main points of something complex.

Too often,  business professionals “over-present.”  Their audience is taken on a meandering brain dump of information overload that leaves them guessing at the presenter’s main point, or perhaps worse, inferring the take-away on their own.

To be an effective communicator in the business world, you must be able to strategize about the main point your particular audience needs to know and then connect on that.   

If you had to name one thing that most communicators could do to improve the way their message lands, what would it be?

Hook any informational point to a human, emotional story.

I learned in CNN anchor training school – yes, there is such a thing – to remember that behind any story – no matter how seemingly dry – there are hopes, dreams or fears.

As a journalist, that didn’t mean to evoke or over dramatize, but to keep the real people in your audience top of mind.

In business, it’s the same.  Until the robots take over, real human people are in the room with you as a presenter.  So, I urge my executive clients to connect any point they want to make to a personal anecdote, illustration or example.

“Stories make messages stick” goes the cliché.  But it’s true.  Science shows that our brain lights up more receptors when we’re told stories that include additional sensory areas like descriptions of weather, feelings, vacations. Things we relate to on a human level.

When you give talks, what topics do you cover? (can you include links to any of your Haiku Decks for us to embed in the blog post?)

From Lagos, to London to Austin to Cairo, in addition to assisting my clients in crafting their own dynamic presentations, I speak at conferences all around the world on a wide-variety of communications and confidence topics.

I’ve presented on helping science and tech professionals connect with broader audiences to improving work-life balance, developing your professional and personal brand and taking control of your body language.  Crisis communications. The power of story-telling. Employee engagement. How not to sound like a robot. If it has to do with communications, I’m there!

I like my slides to be enhance and embroider what I say.  The themes of my images add another layer of interest to my talk.  Here’s my deck that recently backed me up for a lively, interactive presentation before the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. You’ll see, I chose a lot of funny, vintage shots for this one.


Network Dublin Body Language Nov 2016 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

But I don’t always.   My recent work/life balance presentation used shots from Cirque du Soleil as I talked about how we can all learn to “juggle.” Get it? Ha. Never mind. I promise, it was a fun presentation too. Oh, and I actually juggled three oranges at the end of it. Really. And didn’t drop.

As a public speaker, what are three things you do to get ready for a successful presentation?

I use the “AIM” approach and coach my clients to do this too.  AIM stands for Audience, Intent, Message.

First, really analyze who is in your audience. What are their hopes, dreams and fears? How can you best connect with them?  Put them first!  Then narrow your intent to a single action. What do you want your audience to really take away from your presentation? Too often, I find presenters don’t have this clearly defined and they try to do too much.

Finally, after deciding around points one and two, I craft a story to deliver a message that connects, captivates and is clear.

If you’re message isn’t memorable, then what was the point?

What’s your process for pulling a talk and accompanying slides together?

After I complete my AIM analysis, I think about the hook or the one or two stories I will weave throughout the presentation.

For instance, even if you’re going to be presenting a quarterly progress report, think about how much more fun – and therefore memorable – for your audience if you open with a personal or relatable story.

Like, you can’t believe you dinged your car over the weekend and how different the three estimates from three different mechanics were.  Then you segue from that – to the different projections your company heard from various investors – or something like that.

Then at the close of your numbers report, you refer back to you opening anecdote and reveal to your audience how much your car repair is going to cost and which garage you chose. Or that you just bought a new car? Or something.  This is called “the donut” approach to writing, and a simple, but useful device to retain your audience throughout a presentation.

People start to listen more and connect more because they can relate to the personal hook. Plus they’re shocked you’re not just jumping in with the typical “blah blah numbers, numbers.”

How did you first find out about Haiku Deck? 

Great question. I found PowerPoint extremely difficult to use.   There were too many choices and I was going bonkers trying to make my slides look professional.

I’m no graphics designer, but I knew that my arial font on a generic template looked icky.  Everything was looking too ‘PowerPointy.’ Exasperated, I Googled “Alternative Presentation Platforms” and Eureka!

I’ve been Haiku Deck Pro going on three years now and have created nearly a hundred unique decks.  I love it.

What reaction do you get from your audience when you speak at a conference or address a group? Do people notice your slides? 

I am always noticed as one who stands out from the norm.  The upbeat, fresh style of Haiku Deck matches my delivery style.

While I now have a graphics team I can farm things out to, I still make my own presentations because I don’t have to wait for the team to turn something around or try to imagine what look I’m going for. I can do it on my own more speedily – and still look like a graphics team did it!

The professional look combined with ease of use make Haiku Deck a game changer for me – and my clients.

How would you describe Haiku Deck to your clients?

I recommend Haiku Deck to all my clients. I tell them it’s super-easy to use and they will shake up their next employee or investor meeting or whatever  in a way that is extremely positive.  Every client who has tried Haiku Deck has thanked me.

What advice can you offer to Haiku Deck’s community as they think about their next public speaking engagement?

If you have taken the time to create a beautiful slide deck with Haiku Deck, you owe it to your audience to deliver in the same way. Practice out loud. Get off script. Tell stories to personally connect.  Have fun!  And get presentation coaching. Connect with me! Okay, I know. Shameless self promotion.

In short, Haiku Deck helps you “be the movie, not the book” – and that’s what all audiences hope they’ll receive when they sit down for a presentation.

Thanks, Gina, for taking the time to share your wisdom with our community! To learn more about using Haiku Deck to create expert presentations, visit www.haikudeck.com or download our free iOS app from the iTunes app store.

10 Tips for Nailing Your Next Conference Presentation

We understand that making a presentation for a big meeting or conference can be more than a little anxiety provoking- that’s often why people turn to Haiku Deck in the first place. Regardless of the software you choose, we’ve combed our creative community to find best practices from conference keynote speakers, meeting organizers, speech writers, and others… All as part of mission to make presentations 10x faster and easier. Hopefully we can make them 10x less nerve wracking too. From figuring out what you’re going to say, to designing your presentation, to delivering your talk, these tips and tricks are just what you need make the most of your next conference presentation.


10 Tips for Nailing Your Conference Presentation – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

  1. Consider your audience first. Too often, speakers start by asking, “What do I want to say?” Instead, experts recommend that you think about what your audience hopes to get from your presentation. Even when you’ve got your own important agenda , putting your audience first it will help you frame the message to better connect and have greater impact.
  2. Create an outline. Organizing your ideas in an outline before you get down to presentation creation is a great way to save time. Not only do outlines force you to get your thoughts organized, but this way you avoid the distraction of formatting and image selection before it’s time. Think about the one important thing that you want your audience to remember at the end of your talk. Try to organize around this theme and build your outline to support your big idea. Of course, once you have your outline, you’re welcome to use Haiku Deck Zuru to convert your outline into a deck. Most of the time, Haiku Deck Zuru will get you 50-80% of the way from outline to presentation in just a few minutes.
  3. Boil it Down… 1 idea at a time: Perhaps the biggest mistake conference speakers make is trying to share too much all at once. Remember: Even the most important and interesting information has to be shared at a pace that the audience can absorb. Think of your slides as billboards on the side of the highway. They should include few words that reinforce the ideas that you’re sharing. If your slides have too many words, your audience will have to choose between either reading what’s on the screen or listening to you. Our brains cannot read detailed information on a slide and listen at the same time, so try not to force your audience to make this choice.
  4. Choose evocative images: The research shows that people remember pictures better than words. When your slides include evocative images that illustrate your idea, it creates a tool that your listeners can fall back on for remembering what you said.  That’s why beautiful imagery is at the center of Haiku Deck presentations and why we recommend choosing a mix of images to stimulate your audience and deliver impact.
  5. Tell a story: More than anything, Listeners remember how you make them feel during a presentation. That’s because humans are hardwired to engage with and remember stories more than other information. Creating an emotional connection between your idea through a well told story is the number one way to make your conference presentation more powerful. If you can illustrate your story with relevant imagery or a physical artifact, all the better.
  6. Engage your audience: One great way to engage an audience or to reengage an audience in the middle of your talk is to ask a question or encourage audience participation. Talking with your audience helps to draw them in and breaks the pace of a talk, even if just asking for a “quick show of hands” can make a difference. Encouraging the audience to ask questions or discuss via social channels like Twitter can also be a good way to extend the reach of your ideas beyond the room where you’re speaking.
  7. Think about transitions between topics: Even the best outlines can have some rough transitions as you move from one part of your talk to the next. The best way to handle these transitions is to practice them in advance. We also recommend thinking the use of stories and audience engagement as tools for moving the audience from one part of your presentation to the next.
  8. Remember the Golden Rule: Do you like listening to someone read off their slides word-for-word? Neither do we.. Same goes for tiny font, mismatched colors, obnoxious animations, and horrible clip art. If you’re using Haiku Deck, we know you’re not doing this, but just in case you’re new here, please do your audience a favor and treat them the way you wish to be treated when you’re the listener.
  9. Craft a strong finish with an inspiring call to action: If your speech ends with, “…and that’s all I’ve got, any questions?” then you’re doing it wrong. In addition to summarizing your big idea as a reminder to listeners, think about ending your talk with a provocative question or call to action. Inspire your audience with a solution that can be achieved with their participation.
  10. Share your deck  through social media: To get the most from your hard work, be sure to share your deck through Twitter, Facebook, email, and any other channel you can. To maximize the reach, remember to include the event hashtag to achieve maximum visibility for your work.

Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t share with your our Killer Speech template, embedded below, which anyone can open, copy, and edit as their own.


Killer Speech Template – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

Conference Presentation Tips for attendees, speakers, and organizers

If you’re speaking at conferences or events this season, we know conference presentations are never easy. Your audience will thank you for using Haiku Deck to simplify your message. But even if you’re not the one taking the stage as a keynote speaker, there are tons of ways to make the most of a conference experience using Haiku Deck to learn, spread ideas and build your network.

As we look forward to this month’s I.S.T.E. conference (see you there?), we wanted to share some tips and tricks to help conference presenters and even regular conference attendees make the most of the experience.

Before the Event

Haiku Deck is a great way to drive awareness and excitement for a conference ahead of time. You can easily embed Haiku Decks in your blog or website and share them on social channels. Don’t forget to use the event’s hashtag! Here’s a Haiku Deck we made to build buzz for the ISTE2017 conference:


ISTE 2017 – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Tips and best practices:

More “before the event” Haiku Decks:

During the Event

You can also use Haiku Deck as a fun and unique idea-sharing tool, to capture quotable gems and circulate them with your networks.

You can create a Haiku Deck recap of a particular talk, like this one by Haiku Deck Guru Wendy Townley at the ALT Summit:


Alt Summit SLC 2013: Personal Branding – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;
Another approach is to create a “highlights” Haiku Deck, with sound bites from a wide range of speakers. Here’s an example we made while sitting in the audience at the XConomy Mobile Madness Northwest Forum:


XConomy Forum Sound Bites – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

Tips and best practices:

  • Consider creating the first few slides of your deck to set context in advance, so you can give the speaker(s) your full attention.
  • If there’s an event hashtag, keep an eye out for photos attendees have taken that you can incorporate into your deck, or sound bites you might have missed. (Bonus: Tweets are usually short enough to fit on a Haik Deck slide.)
  • You can even make a Haiku Deck of sound bites if you’re following along virtually, via Twitter and an event hashtag–I created this one, of the closing keynote at IntegratED PDX, on the train since I couldn’t be in the room during the talk.

More “during the event” Haiku Decks:

Post-Event Haiku Decks

There’s no better way to share what you’ve learned, key observations, trends, or things that inspired you than with a Haiku Deck wrap-up for your colleagues who couldn’t attend. As you review your notes, you can build a deck that captures your experience, like this one by Haiku Deck Guru Simon McKenzie:

How to Enrich Conferences and Events with Haiku Deck

Click to view the full Haiku Deck with notes

Tips and best practices:

More “After the Event” Haiku Decks:

The Main Event

Of course, if you are up on stage, and you are using Haiku Deck for your slides (Hai-5!), don’t forget to share them with the event attendees using the social share and embed buttons–and with us! Send a link to your deck to gallery@haikudeck.com, and we’ll consider them for our Featured or Popular Gallery.

8 Ways Presentations Grow Nonprofits

Over the past few years we’ve heard from thousands who use Haiku Deck in their nonprofit organization to create great presentations for engaging donors, rallying volunteers, training teams, and promoting their mission. Here are eight ways we’ve seen Haiku Deck help grow nonprofits around the world.

1. Personalize Your Mission:

Every nonprofit is inspired by a story. Many can be quite powerful, such as the story that inspired alexashope.org. In the presentation below, they use personal stories and personal examples to bring their mission to life.

A True Gift of Love – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

2. Make a memorable impression:

Images help potential donors visualize impact, as most people remember an average of 10% of what they read, and 65% of the visuals they see. Using powerful images is one way to make a strong impression that drives to action.


Hurricane Sandy: How You Can Help – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

3. Grow Awareness:

The best decks are featured on our website and in blog posts like this one, attracting thousands of views and shares. Here is a deck that has received nearly 17,000 views from one of our users highlighting volunteers in the “Calais Jungle,” a congregation of homeless peoples’ tents in France.


The ordinary people who volunteer in the Calais Jungle – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

4. Training Volunteers:

Many organizations struggle to deliver effective training materials for volunteers. Haiku Deck, makes it easy to deliver the information your growing team needs to succeed.


Surviving At Carewell – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

5. Pitching Partners and Investors

When it comes to scaling your organization, finding partners and investors can be a critical success factor. The Diversity Fund’s Haiku Deck below is a great example of just such a pitch deck.


Diversity Fund – Finance for the rest of us! – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

6. Attract Sponsors:

Private-sector sponsors want to know that your organization shares their appreciation for professional design. This starts with a presentation that looks professional. Here’s a creative sponsorship proposal for an organization supporting programs for at-risk youth.


Best 5k Sponsorship Offer – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;
7. Update Donors:

A well informed donor is more likely to become a repeat donor. Haiku Deck is a great way to keep your supporters up to date on the progress you’re making. 
The Money House Update – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

8. Use Social Media To Drive Viral Awareness For Your Cause:

Aside from sharing your presentations in person, Haiku Decks are easily shared through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social channels. Creating visual content for your social networks with Haiku Deck keeps your community engaged and helps them to spread the word about your mission.


Charity & Social Media – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Anything we missed?

Let us know if you have any other creative ways to use Haiku Decks to grow nonprofits! E-mail us decks and creative ideas at gallery@haikudeck.com for a chance to have your ideas quoted and decks featured in our upcoming nonprofit landing page!

Join us!

Did we mention that we offer a 50% nonprofit discount?
Send us an e-mail at nonprofit@haikudeck.com to get set up.


Storytelling for Brand Building & Marketing

I recently had the pleasure of joining Kelly Lucente, CEO & Brand Strategist of Minneapolis-based Re-Tool Marketing for an in-depth conversation covering a range of topics from how Haiku Deck came to be, to finding and living your passion, to the principles of great presentation creation, how we built the Haiku Deck brand, and more.

Re-Tool Marketing helps clients build strong brands through powerful strategy, identity, and positioning. Aside from being one of the best in the branding business, Kelly has been a long-time Haiku Deck Pro member and enthusiastic evangelist for our approach to presentations. If you’re passionate about brand-building and marketing or if you’re curious to learn some of the background that led us to Haiku Deck, this is for you!

To learn more about Re-Tool Marketing, be sure to head over to their web site, http://www.retoolmarketing.com/ where you’ll some other helpful videos about brand building

Innovation and Presentations: Competing Against Luck with Author & Haiku Deck user Karen Dillon

As entrepreneurs, we’re always looking to draw inspiration from innovators around us. Naturally, we were excited to learn that a member of the Haiku Deck community is doing ground-breaking work related to innovation, and best of all she’s using Haiku Deck presentations to spread the word.

Karen Dillon is the former editor of Harvard Business Review and co-author of two books with Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen. How Will You Measure Your Life? was published in 2012. Dillon’s new book with Christensen (co-authored by Taddy Hall and Dave Duncan), Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice, is currently featured on The Wall Street Journal‘s business best-seller list.

As entrepreneurs, we were taken by Dillon and Christensen’s ideas about innovation, and in particular why innovation is so often unsuccessful, in spite of really smart people trying to get it right—and how to, instead, make it far more predictable and successful.

We’re honored that Karen took the time to answer a few questions for us, not only about her book, but also about presentations and the way she uses Haiku Deck to help spread ideas. Here’s Karen’s Haiku Deck about her new book and below excerpts from our interview:


Competing Against Luck in brief: Karen Dillon – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires;

Haiku Deck: One of the key concepts in your book is the “Jobs to Be Done” approach. What does this mean for companies and individuals seeking to innovate in business? Does it apply outside of business?

Dillon: Clay has been working for years on what he calls the Theory of Jobs to Be Done. The idea is that well-intended innovation goes slightly wrong so often because it’s aimed at the wrong thing. We assume we just need to know more and more about the customer, but that’s not right. Just because I’m a middle-aged white woman who lives in suburban Boston doesn’t tell companies why I make the choices I do. Why did I choose to stay in an Airbnb rather than a fancy hotel when I was recently asked to speak at a conference in London? Nothing about my profile could answer that question. What could, however, is understanding what I was ‘hiring’ Airbnb to do. In our language, we say that customer ‘hire’ products or services to do a job for them. In my case, I used to live in London and I ‘hired’ Airbnb so I could feel like a local again. Understanding customers does not drive innovation success. Understanding customer jobs does. There’s a big difference.

It applies outside of business, too. I think about the ‘jobs’ people are hiring me in my life all the time. What does a boss really expect of me? What does my husband expect of me? Key to this concept is that ‘jobs’ are not just functional – they’re emotional and social, as my Airbnb example illustrates. If I can get to the essence of what ‘job’ I’ve been hired for, I’m far more likely to be successful. I think as a professional number two for a lot of years in my career, I intuitively understood that the ‘job’ I’d been hired for was to help my boss sleep well at night. He wouldn’t worry if he knew I was on top of things. That’s very different than saying my job included X and Y and Z responsibilities.

Haiku Deck: As a former Editor of Harvard Business Review, I imagine you’ve seen (and continue to see) quite a few presentations. If you had one piece of advice for all presenters, what would it be?

Dillon: Too many words! And I’m a words person. But there’s nothing more boring than watching someone more or less read bullet points off a slide deck. People don’t prune, they don’t think of the listener. They think about how they won’t mess up or forget something, but it can make for a terrible presentation – including the fact that no one will look at you when you’re speaking; they’ll watch your slides or even worse, look down at your handouts. Which are usually identical to your slides!

Haiku Deck: How do you use Haiku Deck in your work?

Dillon: I don’t make a lot of slide decks, I’m not a PowerPoint jockey. I needed a very simple tool to help me give great speeches. I wanted images that would support the point I’m trying to make and I wanted ‘reminders’ of what I was going to say. I use Haiku Deck as a backdrop, but it’s critical to being able to stand up there and do the speech. At first I tried to create a slide deck on my own, but I quickly realized finding free (and without copyright issues) images was a lot of work and I loved being able to easily explore without those worries on Haiku Deck. I like the consistent look and feel that is created. Basically, I don’t think I could easily create these slide decks – which are critical to my speeches – without Haiku Deck.

Both of Karen’s books are available on Amazon.com. Click to learn more about Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice and How Will You Measure Your Life?

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