Sunday, March 08, 2009

Tips for Speakers from James Duncan Davidson

I consider comfort with public speaking to be an important leadership skill. Leaders can not avoid being in front of groups, and they should strive to look comfortable there. Note that I didn't say they have to feel comfortable.

James Duncan Davidson is a photographer who has spent a lot of time photographing speakers, most notably for O'Reilly Media conferences. Being forced to watch both good and bad speakers has given him some insights into what works. I particularly liked this one: "Don't pace aimlessly. ... From the audience perspective, a speaker like this looks like a caged animal."

In public speaking, practice helps, but I've found that careful consideration of what works for others has been more help to me. James' article is well worth a read to help you avoid common mistakes.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Chick-fil-A Is Closed On Sunday

Seldom do we see corporate America stand behind a principle.  Chick-fil-A is a noteworthy exception.  The founder, chairman and CEO, Truett Cathy (that's him on the sign), built the business around five principles including "Closed on Sundays:"

1. Climb with Care and Confidence
2. Create a "Loyalty Effect"
3. Never Lose a Customer
4. Put Principles and People Ahead of Profits
5. Closed on Sundays

In spite of, or more likely due to these principles, Chick-fil-A boasts 2007 sales of $2.64 billion and 40 consecutive years of sales increases.  With such outward demonstration of principled leadership, it has build both staff- and customer-loyalty.  On one visit to our local mall we met a couple dressed as cows as part of a promotion to get a free meal.  A free fast food meal is not worth such effort, if you don't also love the company.

Look to Truett Cathy and Chick-fil-A for an example of how valuable treating your team and customers can be.