The Sublime Power of the magical “Killer B Key”!

15 04 2015

“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” ~Mark Twain

When trying to sell something, leaders can be tempted to embellish simple, cogent points.  They’ll want to use 2 paragraphs to say what 1 sentence can do, when constructed properly.  During my MBA training, my leadership communication instructor stressed brief PowerPoint presentations, and leaders not looking at/reading from the screen.  You all know your work well.  Make a few bulleted words to remind you about the topic, and then talk about it to the audience, not the screen.  The bullets ensure that you don’t miss critical data points – that’s all they’re there for.  Brevity is beauty – when you’ve got a good thing to sell, stick to the “elevator pitch”.

My favorite leadership communication trick from that most excellent class is the “B” key in PowerPoint (for black).  When you want to make a statement, and capture your audience’s attention (so they’re not reading the screen instead of paying attention to you, as so often happens), scan the bullets on your new slide, then hit B.  This will make the screen go black, and they’ll all be looking at you (wondering how you did that, as most are not aware of the sublime power of the magic “killer B key”).  Then you just look into their eyes and SELL IT.  If I had more time, I’d tell you about how I brought a group of 30 cut-throat MBA candidates to tears with my use of B – but that’s for another day.  Then you hit B, and the screen jumps back to the presentation.  This magic tool is so powerful that you can ONLY use it once every presentation (maybe once per audience, ever) – so pick your timing well!  Note: if you don’t want a totally dark room, use the W button (for white).  It does the same thing, but back-lights you, giving you a splendid aura of power and intelligence – sort of like a halo.

Speaking of Editors..


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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