Professor of marketing and presentation design consultant
I have been designing and giving presentations, and teaching and coaching others to do so, for almost 20 years now. My background is in marketing, and marketing is in large part about persuading others to think or do something. I find it useful to apply the theory and techniques of marketing to improve presentation design.
I started my career with Procter & Gamble, and the intensive, on-the-job training I received there on their famous 1-page memo approach to communications (and the 10 or 11 rewrites that typically involved), was my earliest education in effective business communication. Powerpoint had not been invented yet. (In a subsequent post I intend to summarize the key elements of the 1-page memo, which I believe are still very useful).
I later joined the firm of McKinsey and Company as a consultant. McKinsey's approach to problem-solving and presentation is held by many to be the "gold standard" in this area. I became a regular faculty member at McKinsey's Introductory Training Program, or ITP, that all new consultants attended after about one year in the Firm, where I taught McKinsey's problem-solving technique.
Subsequently I helped start up both the Marketing Leadership Council (as its first Managing Director) and the Market Research Executive Board (as an external consultant). These are for-profit "think tanks" focused on improving best practices for heads of marketing and market research respectively. Both have become very successful, with members from several hundred companies, mostly from the Fortune 500.
Along the way, I received a Ph.D. in marketing and ethics from the Darden business school, and ethical persuasion has become a great interest of mine. I am currently a professor of marketing at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
It was listening to many heads of market research express serious and ongoing concerns about the challenges with improving presentation skills that gave me the idea to launch an initiative to develop a better approach to presentation design, which this blog chronicles.