To support the quality of content that Supply Chain Matters provides in our coverage of global supply chain and B2B business process and information technology, we often attend industry, professional and technology focused conferences where executives speak.

This weekend, while attending the 2013 Kinexions conference in Scottsdale Arizona, we had the opportunity to once again observe Jake Barr speak. After a 33 year career at Procter & Gamble contributing to its integrated supply chain initiatives, Jake has now formed his own consultancy, BlueWorld Supply Chain Consulting. If aspiring supply chain executives seek a benchmark on how to effectively speak to an audience and demonstrate executive presence, then take the opportunity to view one of Jake’s talks.

There are many valid motivations for executives to speak at conferences. Communicating to an audience is a conversation, where knowledge, insights and wisdom can be exchanged. It can further be motivated by advocating for a particular viewpoint, or expanding one’s personal visibility in the industry, or within the intimate circles of supply chain management. The latter is especially important since, by our observation, executives seeking to enhance personal visibility can be a tricky challenge since too often of late, we observe executives trying to convince audiences as to their individual smarts and management skills.

I recommend that aspiring executives focus conference presentations on sharing insights and learning, since that is what audiences often seek.  Let the audience make its own conclusions as to your leadership skills and executive presence.

A presentation needs to have a compelling opening and closing.  It should state a clear purpose, and share the insights and organizational learning the executive and their teams have gained concerning the purpose.  PowerPoint content should be highly balanced, less of page after page of bullets, charts and graphs, and more to impact statements, arguments, talking points and/or pictorials that summarize insights.

A clear purpose, succinct observations, learning and a powerful close make for an impactful conference presentation.

Bob Ferrari