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Mastering the White Board

January 31, 2011 — 2 Comments

Photo by Hannah Stelzl

Last week I wrote several posts on Power Point.  Here are some thoughts on White boarding: I love the white board.  Unlike Power Point, white boards allow for collaborative thinking.  I remember one of my sales managers coming back from an appointment with great excitement, recounting how he and a perspective client had been up at the white board together, adding to a diagram, interactively creating the solution to a problem they were having.  They went from one-way broadcasting to collaborative brainstorming.

Earlier in my career I came up with a powerful story I now refer to as The House & the Cloud ( the Title of my first book).   Every time I was called upon to share my team’s progress with partners or management, I used the House & the Cloud.  It became a brand over time.  People in other regions who had never met me, began referring to me as The Guy with the House!  This is what you want; a personal brand or a signature story.  It won’t happen over night, but as you begin thinking about it, using illustrations on your sales calls, and reviewing the results, your story will evolve over time.  As it grows, don’t be surprised if people are wanting to meet with you just to hear about your “House”.

Start here. Learn the presentation you meant to give in Power Point, strip out the boring statistics, and recreate the message using a more informal white-boarding style.  Look for ways to make your sales story interesting and compelling.  There is something powerful about watching someone draw.  If you have ever seen a speaker use chalk drawings to illustrate their message, you know what I mean.  If not, check YouTube.

Creating knowledge gaps, interrupting ones thinking, and by filling in the blanks in an interactive drawing session, you can magnify the energy in the room, drawing people into your story as you unfold it.  This takes preparation, creativity, and practice.  But once again, it is not something people are just born with.  Anyone can do it.  It just takes some upfront planning and practice.  Start thinking through your presentation.  How can you make it great?  How can you create a story that can be told through pictures and colors, in fifteen minutes, using a white board diagram?

© 2011, David Stelzl

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Jim Collins tells us in his book, “Good to Great”, that successful business planners start by assembling a top-notch team, and then figure out what they will actually do for business.  The people matter, and the best offerings will fail without great people.  This Friday at 11:30 I will be addressing this critical issue – after overseeing hundreds of interviews I have put together what I think will be invaluable insights on how to build your hiring process, read between the lines on resumes, and ask questions that will reveal weaknesses you need to know about before making an offer.  Here are some points I plan to cover in detail:

  1. Why it is so hard to find great people
  2. Where to look
  3. How to discern between great people and liars
  4. How to measure character and evaluate skills, especially with sales people
  5. How to build a hiring team that will reduce the chances of making a mistake
  6. How to figure out quickly if this person will work
  7. What to do if things are heading for disaster

Whether you attend or not, you need to know; 70% of people surveyed in one study I read agreed that they would lie on their resume and in their interview to get a job.  The cost of interviewing and bringing someone on is high…making a mistake can devastate existing client relationships, cost the company as ramp-up money is paid from the bottom line, and infect your team with cancerous people.  And it’s getting worse….you’d think there are more great people to hire given the economy.  Not true.  There are more people who have been cut for lack of performance as financial pressures mount.  This has put more people on the street, and made it more difficult to find the great people you need to hire. Don’t miss this!

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