Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Presentation Palpitations

As part of your role you may be required to give a presentation to clients. This can cause a lot of stress. When you speak to clients you are not just representing Plankton: for that moment in time you are Plankton. Everything you say is a reflection on the company, and it is likely that each client’s opinion of Plankton will be altered by what you have to say. So as long as you perform perfectly, there shouldn’t be anything to stress about.

If you look for help outside Rob’s Office Tips (fine, whatever, as if I care) you will be told that you should know your material. This is great if you are trying to mould impressionable minds - like a “groovy” university lecturer or a cult leader - but a presentation to clients is different. Clients desperately need to know they are the smartest person in the room. So if acting stupidly doesn’t come naturally then make sure you know nothing about your topic and provide clients ample opportunities to correct you.

One common technique to overcome fear of public speaking is to picture the audience naked. However this can be quite taxing on the imagination. Spending all your time wondering what is under Frieda’s cardigan will certainly divert you from stress, but the extra mental effort may also distract you from your actual presentation. The company database contains pictures of many of our clients and by using photo editing software to combine these photos with pictures downloaded from select internet sites, you won’t have to imagine what these people look like naked, you will be able to see it for yourself. To ensure full disclosure, include the pictures in your presentation. This also works as an icebreaker.

If all goes well your clients will walk away feeling smarter and sexier than they will ever be in real life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rumour Millers

People love a good rumour. But as with the insane ramblings of Nostradamus, the truthfulness of any office rumour can only be determined after the events in question have taken place. However, certain types of people share certain types of information, and you can soon learn to recognise patterns of rumours based on their source.

  • Cynifacts – These people will spread rumours that do contain an element of truth, but getting to it means cutting through Eeyore-esque levels of pessimism and cynicism. Even rumours of positive events - such as a company party - are presented negatively: “I heard they’re not inviting that guy who was sacked four years ago after he set fire to Roger’s fish tank. They’re so cheap.”
  • Enigma Machines – These people generally know something but have been sworn to secrecy and so will often speak in code. They wiggle eyebrows, tap noses, and say things like “well I’d like to tell you but…” This means they are more interested in telling you that they know something, rather than telling you what it is. Usually any information these people hold is so trivial that most people either already know or just don’t care.
  • Misinformants - These people usually start their sentences with “I shouldn’t be telling you this…” and the reason they shouldn’t be telling you is that they know that they just made it up.
  • Management – These people know lots of secrets. In many ways it is a manager’s job to keep secrets so that the rest of the company can get on with their actual work without the burden of knowledge. Managers will not share a secret with anyone until they no longer wish it to be a secret, at which point they will let the Enigma Machines, the Cynifacts and even the Misinformants spread the word in their own special ways.