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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Packaging vs. Substance

Years ago when I was a junior marketing executive, my country manager (CM) asked me to make a presentation to her big boss, the VP of Asia Pacific, who was visiting our country. At that time I was tied up with a lot of work. To create an additional presentation on powerpoint would take up a lot of time, mainly because I was not very good with powerpoints, and also to tell my story I needed to literally draw out the focus map.
Well, I decided not to draw on powerpoint in order to save time. When the VP came, I told him the story of our business armed with my words, and a pencil and paper. I started drawing the various components of business at the table when I was presenting to him. My CM nearly fell off her chair! Luckily the presentation went well. When I retell this story nowadays, we always have a good laugh about how I was a rash and brave executive to use this kind of shortcuts in front of the big boss. I guess that I stayed true to myself- if I can get the message across, why waste time with the packaging when I really have the substance?
Nowadays, unfortunately, I can't use the paper and pencil anymore. This is to avoid the perception of non-preparedness, sloppiness and lackadaisical attitude. But luckily I am much better with powerpoints already ;-)

1 comment:

  1. During the time when I was managing a sales team, I had one rule: no "brochure selling." I told them if they could not talk sense to someone without the aid of powerpoints or brochures, they were of no use to me. It was to discourage people from shoving brochures and saying, "Read lah. Any questions call me." When I moved to corporate strategy I said the same thing. Any tom dick and harry can speak off a powerpoint slide but not everyone can speak confidently off the cuff. It was important in my trade becoz how we connected to potential partners depended on their confidence in us as professionals as much as the actual business we were in.