I first joined the world of Competitive Intelligence when working for Digex (now part of Verizon) in 2000. Digex was a premier provider of managed hosting services. There were about 10 top firms in the country. We were constantly trying to outperform (e.g., service level agreements, uptime, reliability, and reduce risk) while maintaining a competitive pricing structure.
I was the Manager of Product Planning. SLAs, Pricing, and New Product Launch fell into my area of responsibility. What my team didn’t have was a competitive intelligence professional. We needed someone to help us with data ingest/gathering, data analysis, sales intelligence, and much more. I also wanted my competitive intelligence team to be able to support my “storytelling with data” initiatives–telling senior management about our competition and how we compared, helping sales with its win-loss analysis, etc. I had the storytelling skills down–I needed the competitive intelligence data side.
Fast forward to today, 2004. I reconnected with Cyndi of the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP), of which she was one of the founders. I had hired her team back in 2000 to help us set up a competitive intelligence team. While we were talking, she asked if I would be interested in doing a “Storytelling with Data” workshop for the SCIP chapter. I eagerly agreed.
[Note: I also wrote an article for SCIP, Tell Your (Data) Business Story – Eight Steps to Inspire Your Audience and conducted a “What Do You Do?” elevator pitch workshop]
Here’s a little bit about the program.
Storytelling with Data: How to Become a More Effective Storyteller
I designed the competitive intelligence workshop program around these five learning goals:
- Create compelling messages for communicating competitive intelligence
- Use storyboards to develop trust-building, audience-centered content
- Developing engaging visuals that help tell your data story
- Learn how to develop a presentation theme, a presentation story
- Share tools and techniques to help you build trust and credibility with your stakeholders
High Level Concepts Included
- Technology disconnects, stories around data engages
- “Think like a sales person, present like a sales person, be the expert that you are”
- “It’s all about them”
- Storyboarding is the key to all great presentations
- “Visuals are a function of content.” Avoid the default of using a line chart, pie chart, or bar graph. “Think Deliberately TM” about how to engage your audience with your visuals.
- Each slide can only have one “Better Tomorrow Message TM“
- There is no such thing as a PowerPoint® fairy (see header image)
- Facts and data don’t last. Stories are memorable. Be a data storyteller. Why? Great stories travel TM.
One of the lasting thoughts I shared with the SCIP competitive intelligence professionals is something very near and dear to me. This is a credo, a mantra, a theme of mine I developed for The Chief Storyteller®:
“PowerPoint, like any tool, is only as good as the person who wields it.
If you want to blame PowerPoint for bad presentations, then blame Excel for poor financial performance and blame Word for terrible prose.”
– Ira Koretsky, The Chief Storyteller®
Photography Source: Cartoon Bank