Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Presentation skills

I came across a superb piece written by Suzanne Bates from 'Speak like a CEO'. I strongly agree with what she has said and I am reproducing it here for you to read and think about:

March 1, 2011

The Earthquake Mayor


God bless the people of New Zealand who are suffering through the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that will ultimately claim more than 200 lives. The city of Christchurch is a dusty, rubbled, ghost of a place populated at the moment only by rescuers, anxious family members, local police officers, international rescue teams...

...oh, and one notable mayor, who has made me believe that a city broken on the outside will be no match for him, or the inner fortitude of the people of Christchurch.

Bob Parker, dubbed "the earthquake mayor" is everywhere - comforting those who have lost homes and loved ones, thanking the rescue workers, holding press conferences and fielding countless media interviews. NBC's Brian Williams featured him Friday night on Making a Difference. After that I had to go online and watch more of the down under video clips.

"It's human to look but it's also more human to have compassion for the people who are suffering," said Parker as he urged tourists to stay off the roads and let the exhausted rescue teams complete their work. The work was "psychologically demanding" but they are "in good heart." Parker seems to have just the right words, enveloping you in this feeling that everything really will be okay.

Parker polished this natural presence in a former television career. But on camera readiness doesn't account for it all. It's something else...I'd have to call it.... love. He loves the city of Christchurch.

And that's when it hit me - wow - imagine what would have happened - and just bear with me for a minute, suspend disbelief, forget what actually happened, or how disappointing it was.... what IF the CEO of British Petroleum, Tony Hayward, had not only demonstrated that kind of polished crisis management training that major corporate executives should have in SPADES...but also gone there with LOVE IN HIS HEART and talked to the people of the Gulf Coast. What if, right when all those nasty gallons of oil had started pouring in the water off the Louisiana coast, he had canceled the yacht trip, gone straight to the scene....

(Yes, I know, he's not a mayor, he's a CEO)... but again, bear with me...

...and he had donned the all-weather jacket, set up camp, been available for back to back, on-the-scene interviews...what if he had actually walked around, talked to rescuers, visited fishermen on the docks, gone to their homes, held a town hall jointly with the mayor.... in other words, what if he had actually approached this whole thing... with love in his heart?

For one thing Hayward would still be the CEO today.

BP has paid dearly for this mess - almost $13 B on clean up and another $4 B in payouts with half a million people lined up with tons more claims. The spill would still be The Spill, the cost would still be The Cost, but I can't help but believe that BP could have saved the one thing money can't buy - it's good reputation. "

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