11 Tips For Creating Compelling, Authentic Video Content

Good tips for your video content. I particularly endorse the third suggestion: Don’t (over) rely on your video script.


CEOs: Here’s How To Overcome Loneliness At Work

Wise advice not only for CEOs but for any leader who may feel lonely at the top…


Why Is It So Difficult to Make Your Presentations “Stick”?

Throughout my 27 years as a corporate executive and seven as a corporate coach, I have attended far too many business presentations that tried to convey several messages, were delivered in ways that did not engage the audience, were difficult to understand, and were forgotten the moment the speech was over. In fact, I must confess that in my early years, I was the one holding the microphone in some of them.

In my quest to continuously educate myself on this subject and be able to provide helpful advice to the executives and teams I coach, I recently read an excellent book that complemented what I have learned throughout the years: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

This is one of those rare books in which the content is not only exceptional, but the writing style is highly engaging. In fact, the way it engages the reader proves what the authors claim is needed for a message to “stick.”

Rather than summarizing the book’s many lessons, I am going to highlight one of the authors’ key suggestions: using inspirational stories.

This is probably not the first time you’ve been told about the importance of telling stories in your presentations. However, when was the last time you used one in a business context? Or think about the business presentations you attended last week: What was the most memorable piece of information you can recall? If any of the presenters used an inspirational story, chances are, that’s what you remember the most.

Inspirational stories come in three plots:

  1. The Challenge: If you want to motivate the audience to embrace a difficult business feat, consider using a plot where the protagonist faces a formidable challenge and comes out victorious (think David conquering Goliath, an underdog sports team beating the undefeated contender, etc.).
  2. The Connection: If you are trying to forge cooperation between distant teams, inspirational stories about developing a relationship that bridges a gap between people may be helpful. An example is the Bible story of the Good Samaritan, who helped a Jew in dire need despite hostility between Samaria and Judea.
  3. The Creativity: Stories with a MacGyver-like plot are useful if you want the audience to “think out of the box” and create a breakthrough way to address an outstanding issue.
    If your goal is to inspire and energize your audience, consider using inspirational stories that incorporate one of these three plots.

Count on me if you want help in developing business presentations that stick.


Percy M. Cannon
Corporate Coach

What Soft Skills Do Employers Want?

In this article you will find four very relevant “soft skills” sought after by employers. All four (problem-solving, teamwork, written communication and leadership) map to what I see in great demand today in the corporate world. In particular, I want to highlight a quote I have embraced since my early years at work: “A good memo is not only capable of being understood, but incapable of being misunderstood.” Although this is a pre-email quote, it’s equally relevant in today’s digital communications.


Never Stop Learning

Among the several good suggestions in this article, I want to highlight “Asking Questions.” Don’t feel ashamed of admitting your limited knowledge on a particular subject. Learn by asking questions to those who are subject-matter experts.


Have One Day a Week When Nothing Can Interrupt You

Good advice on the importance to set aside a day (or half-a-day, or even a couple of hours) each week to plan, be creative or do any other activity that is important but not necessarily urgent.


Getting Fired and Promoted… for the Same Reasons

Good reminder to check your fit with the culture of the company you are applying to work for and the values of its executives.

Getting Fired and Promoted… for the Same Reasons

Get Honest Feedback About the Traits That Will Hurt Your Career

Do you know what it takes to grow in your current company? Exceeding your objectives is not the only prerequisite for career growth. How many excellent individual contributors have you seen underperform when promoted to a management role? Don’t just ask your boss for feedback on your current role. Ask if he/she sees any issue that could slow down your professional growth. And then, work hard to remove that hurdle.


Because Life Happens When We’re All At Work

I still remember how important it was to get a week of paid leave from the company I used to work for (Microsoft) when my father passed away 8 years ago. If you are looking for good practices on how to expand the support you give to your employees on their personal life, check out this article. It can help improve their work & life balance and overall job satisfaction.


Is It Difficult for You to Give and Receive Feedback?

If it is, you are not alone. I experienced that challenge during most of my 27 years in the corporate world and saw others around me struggle as well. I continue to see it in my interactions with leadership teams and executives through my consulting and coaching practices.

Here are ten tips for improving your feedback skills:

  1. Acknowledge the difficulty of giving and receiving feedback.
  2. Make a choice: Do you want to benefit from giving and receiving feedback? If so, read on. If not, the rest of this article is probably not for you at this time in your life.
  3. If possible, restrict the conversation to feedback. Detach it from other topics, such as performance reviews and compensation adjustments.
  4. Set ground rules, such as being 100 percent constructive, saying (and showing!) an intention to help the other person grow, asking questions only to clarify a point (vs. challenging a statement), and providing both positive and negative feedback.
  5. Volunteer to receive the feedback first. This will show humility and maturity and will make the other person more open to receiving your feedback.
  6. Pinpoint: Make your feedback as specific as possible. Provide examples, and stay away from generic statements, such as “try harder,” “be more assertive,” etc.
  7. Listen with your ears and your heart. Beyond the words being stated, watch for nonverbal signs, such as body language, sighs, and any other means used, consciously or subconsciously, by the other person. Likewise, be aware of your own communication signs and ensure they are consistent with the message you want to share.
  8. Practice, practice, practice. Start with a colleague with a high trust level. Go first, and stick to positive feedback if you want to initially play it safe. Make it a learning experience for both.
  9. Recognize that no two persons address and react to feedback the same way.
  10. Agree with the other person on the option to pause and assess the process midway, if needed. Be ready to call a time-out if the conversation is not flowing positively.

I hope these tips help you increase the quality and quantity of your feedback sessions, whether it is with colleagues, people within your team, your boss, or even your spouse.

Count on me if you want help in this process.

Percy M. Cannon
Corporate Coach