Yep, it's here, a brand new year, as empty as a cup, full of nothing but potential. In the recent documentary The Promise Bruce Springsteen talks about this in relation to concerts. He says that despite all the preparation, the selection of songs, the endless rehearsals, as he steps on the darkened stage, nothing exists but the potential of performance. The new year beckons as a stage for your preparation. Here is one of my three goal points as I've prepared for 2011:


In the area of NEW PROGRAMS, I am launching three new and upgraded programs this year:

Create your potential by a simplified, impactful plan for every day of 2011.

January starts off like December ended. I will have the honor of working with clients in Atlanta, Minneapolis (brrrr), Austin, San Antonio, Cleveland (brrrr) and San Francisco!

Here is a neat, little piece that appeared in Dallas Business Journal:

See the entire article here, online.

The Architecture of Presentation

All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts or stimulates the person in that space. -Philip Johnson

Think about this: we are all in the idea business. It might be the idea of a new sales initiative or a revised compensation plan. Perhaps it's an acquisition or a new office opening. Maybe it's a product launch. It doesn't matter what the "it" is, it is above all a new idea. And how does an idea gain power? What makes it exciting? It's all about engagement. Engagement provides the traction that gives any idea its power. And one of the key engagement tools is how the idea is presented. The idea becomes launched and begins fighting for its traction when the idea is presented to those impacted by its effect. Presentation is critical.

If this is the case, why then do most presentations suck? I'm deadly serious. I see more presentations than my entire reading audience (now at about 5,000) combined, so rest assured, I know what I'm talking about when I say the current state of most presentation material and its delivery is as dismal as a nuclear winter. I often think, "Oh, I get it. The purpose of this presentation is to send the entire audience to the window, where they will fight for the chance to jump first. Well done, marketing department. Well done, poorly trained and prepared presenter. Well done!"

I understand how it happens. Most people have no idea that there is architecture behind great presentation design. In addition, most presenters have received at best only cursory training in presentation skills. Combine these two inadequacies, and you get mind-numbing, blackberry-texting, non-connecting, window-jumping presentations…that suck.

So let's stop this right now. Hey, companies! If you are trying to gain a level of engagement, start with the first time anyone is going to hear about this new idea. Is it going to be an email (horrible choice, but sometimes necessary)? Design it to be impactful! Better yet, let's assume it's a stage presentation for those to be affected or involved. Here are some concepts from my program The Architecture of Presentations:

This is the beginning of creating a vehicle that will launch your idea with real traction being your outcome.

There is NO EXCUSE for horrific presentations. If you don't know how to design a presentation, learn! It's a learnable skill. Don't condemn the participants to another meaningless hour where the potential for impact is left at the door. Mediocre presentations are no better than lousy ones. Yours can be great!


The 4 Horseman of the Economy: One of the myriad economists I get to hear every year gave an interesting insight into simplifying the macro issues impacting the economy. He defines four indicators as the big economic players: Light Vehicle Sales, Housing Starts, Change in Private Inventories, and Capital Goods Orders. Well, it is good Horseman news that Toyota will be reopening its Tupelo Mississippi plant that's been closed since 2008. It will employ over 2,000 and be making primarily Corollas.

"Will That Be Cash or Charge?" Even with the snowstorm of the year battering the east coast and impacting the big day-after-Christmas shopping plans, we still did a pretty good job of spending this holiday season. The National Retail Federation says we spent $451.5 billion, up about 3.3% from last year and close to the all time pre-crisis high of 2007. Online sales were up 15%, and despite our spending we still have a 5.3% savings rate. Not great, but pretty good when you think that in 2005 we had a negative savings rate.

Wrap Rage: The diabolical entombment of gifts in hard plastic packaging and the dreaded "clamshell" containers has produced a Christmas morning disaster zone. Emergency rooms across the country report lacerations and puncture wounds from people trying to get into their gifts. The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports over 6,000 people need medical attention every year. Perhaps those Zipit infomercials may not have such a bad idea!

Hope you have a rewarding and impactful 2011!

For those interested, the annual Top 10 and Bottom 5 movie list for 2010 is ready. To get a copy, please send me a note and I will be glad to get it to you.


Interested in these ideas?


You can contact Steve at or give him a call at 972-490-7717.
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