First impressions count…no, really…

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 by Simon Morton

As my Grandma used to say “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” and while much of her advice is no longer appropriate (a lot of it was to do with rationing), this one still rings true and has recently been brought home to me in a couple of ways.

CVs – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

We’ve been in the very fortunate position of recruiting a bunch of people. The unexpected downside to this has been my exposure to a bunch of CV’s.

I, somewhat naively as it turns out, thought that the idea of a CV is to showcase the very best that each candidate has to offer. How times have changed! Now it seems that a CV is an opportunity to abuse spelling, punctuation and grammar to your hearts’ content.

What sort of an impression do people think this leaves? Spell check for heaven’s sake! If you can’t be bothered to proof read your CV, why should I be bothered to even think about giving you an interview..?

A Psycho Shows The Way

A friend of mine recently pinged me a link to a YouTube clip from the film, American Psycho. The witty remark on his e-mail pointed to my own fascination with fonts, layout and presentation…as you’d expect for someone in my line of work.

With my anorak firmly and proudly in place – there’s no getting away from the fact that business cards are an important part of how we present ourselves and, perhaps more importantly, leave a lasting impression (good or bad) AFTER we’ve gone.

And so to Presentations…

Regular readers of our blog will know that all this is leading to a short but heartfelt rant about the lack of care people put into their presentations.

Time and time again, we see hastily pulled together presentations being used to pitch for high value (and, let’s face it, career changing) opportunities. They’re often a mish-mash of content delivered with little thought to an overarching message or structure. This is the equivalent of presenting coal and hoping that the audience sees a diamond.

No matter how good your product or service is – if it’s presented in a shoddy manner, you’re on the back foot before you even start (think of the CVs full of typos).

We’ve seen this strange phenomenon so often we’ve ceremoniously named it The Presentation Paradox.

The last thing we’re suggesting is style over substance (a la the business cards) but we think you owe it to your business and your audience to consider each and every part of the presentation process…and that includes your slide deck.

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