Good evening! My apologies for the lack of posts over the Spring and early Summer. I’m kicking things off with something new: a guest post! I give a number of short talks on the UH campus each year on presentation skills and I am always glad to hear “success stories,” when students are able to take the rules and create successful and effective presentations.
This guest post is from Mr. Harold Arnold, a student in the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. He’s had phenomenal success with his revamped approach to presentations, and I wanted him to share his story. –Lee
A picture is worth 1000 words, and a couple of high finishes!
My name is Harold O. Arnold, III and I am the Chief Operating Officer for the student organization The Houston Think Tank. Our organization strives to bridge the gap between the theory we learn at school and the realities of the working world. We believe that we gain a great education at the University of Houston and strive to implement our ideas on and around campus. Most recently, we have come up with the idea of the Cougar Invasion. We plan to invade Lubbock, TX next year for the Texas Tech Football game. It was with Lee Hilyer’s help that we have been able to hone our presentation skills and win the awards we have received to this point.
Sometime last year I had the pleasure of being invited to a class taught by Lee Hilyer. The class was on how to make your presentations not just better, but enjoyable. While serving in the military I have been tortured by long PowerPoints–it was more like a paper just put on a slide. It was unbearable: if the military used it on some of the terrorist captives it would be considered worse than torture.
[I gave a workshop on “Three Simple Rules” for Great Presentations as part of the University’s Learning through Discovery initiative (http://www.uh.edu/discovery). You can find an abbreviated version here on the site.]
Since that time, I have been determined to practice what Lee preaches, and it has been difficult to say the least. Nothing is harder than trying to break down the status quo of what business people see and what they are used to.
The first time I implemented Lee’s ideas into a team PowerPoint presentation I got a little blowback from my team. They loved what they saw and thought it was better than what they had thought it would look like. However they questioned if this was what the judges were looking for? Being a strong-willed individual I told them now is the time to change the status quo. In the APICS Regional Case Study Competition, we finished third and as I saw nineteen other teams go before me I could tell why there needed to be a change. [My emphasis.]
The second time I used Lee’s Ideas was for the C.T. Bauer School of Business Ethics Competition. Each team was given the guidance to come up with a topic that was unethical, write a two page executive summary, and build a PowerPoint presentation. I was given the job of building our presentation and of course leveraged the skills I had received from Lee. Most of our slides were picture-based with a couple of slides that needed other types of information. In this instance our team finished in Second place out of sixteen teams.
Recently I was asked by APICS, a student organization at the business school, to prepare and deliver a PowerPoint presentation to a group of potential corporate sponsors. The first presentation was to a panel of judges who gave us a raw score of 34/40. One of the comments made to us after the presentation was our use of pictures and how it made our presentation stand out. [My emphasis.] I hope that our presentation will further our success and help raise money for the Cougar Invasion, this fall.
Thanks, Harold, for sharing your success!