How to Apply “The Lean Startup” to Your Presentations: Part I


As someone committed to “helping international companies and individuals achieve measurable success,” I often find myself acting as an “intrapreneur” (in other words, an entrepreneur inside large organizations).

Because of that, I often find guidance and inspiration for my work in unlikely places.  Recently, I realized that techniques from The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries, can actually improve how I approach my seminars.  After reading this post (and its sequel), you’ll be able to do the same. Continue reading

3 Ways to Frame Expectations

Woman Framing with Hands

For my business English seminars, I’m often asked by my clients (internal or external) to cover vast topics in relatively short amounts of time.  When this situation arises, I always make sure to inform the audience  at the beginning of the seminar exactly how far we’re going into a particular topic.  I bookend this at the end of the presentation by either sharing methods or resources to further study the topic or by promising future seminars within the same field. Continue reading

Make It Real

Matrix Reality

© Warner Bros.

One of the things I loved about graduate school was the opportunity to apply what I was learning to real-world situations.  There’s no better way to learn how to make a marketing plan than to do a real one for a real business. Continue reading

Harnessing Humor: Self-Deprecation

Pick up any book on presentations, and you’ll see that almost every one of them will tell you to use humor in your presentations.  That’s great if you are are naturally a comedian, but if you’re like me, humor (especially the spontaneous kind) doesn’t come easily.  The problem is that when someone tells you to integrate humor into your presentations, they almost never tell you how.  Well, today, I’m going to try to buck that trend and offer a specific method that might work for you. Continue reading

Who Is Your Customer?

Before answering this question, let’s take a look at a typical (yet highly simplified) supply chain:

From the perspective of the manufacturer, who are the customers in this diagram?  Many people go for the obvious answer:  the end users.  Indeed, down the line, they are customers that need to be served and satisfied.  Don’t forget, however, the manufacturer also has more immediate customers: the retailers.  They, after all, are buying products directly from the manufacturer to be resold to customers. Continue reading

Embrace Feedback

© Bethesda Softworks LLC

It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that most people resist and fear criticism.  This makes sense.  It’s not easy to hear that the great class, lecture, or presentation that you worked so hard on wasn’t perfect (or perhaps majorly flawed).  However, if you are truly committed to becoming a better public speaker, you not only have to learn how to accept feedback, but you must also learn to embrace it.  In fact, you may even have to actively seek it out criticism. Continue reading

Avoid Assumptions About Your Audience

One of my first clients as a business English instructor used to be a constant source of anxiety. Although they seemed to enjoy their class and were fun to teach, they didn’t seem to take it very seriously. Their attendance was sporadic and their homework performance was no different. Upon hearing that I would have to have a meeting with the company president (and that he would sample my class), I feared my teaching days were going to come to an abrupt end. With the students behaving as they were, naturally, their English was not improving very quickly. I was positive the president wouldn’t be satisfied with their progress (and therefore my performance). Continue reading