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What You Don’t Say, Counts

So last year’s Best Picture Oscar went to a story about public speaking – and this year, it’s all about what can be done with silence.  “The Artist” makes amazing use of gestures, gazes, graphics and music to engage us in a simple love story.

Corporate stories are rarely quite as straightforward, but business presentations can really benefit from similar performance techniques.  Sometimes all it takes is a couple of dramatic moments to underscore a key message, or focus attention on an important issue.

Great presenters can do this simply by pausing at the right moment.  A moment of silence gives the audience a chance to absorb what is happening and prepare for the next moment.

The right gesture evokes an emotional response without resorting to explanation – and that is key to delivering memorable performances.  Appropriate gestures signal authenticity, and build credibility for the speaker.

And of course, sound and graphics can lend a great deal.  That’s why great presentations are often the result of teamwork among talented specialists.  And if someone can tap-dance like Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, well, that could be a plus!

All Hail the iPad!

I have been a Mac user most of my life.  And to any Mac devotee that comes at a cost.  (No, not the retail value, though my overpriced laptop still lasts three times as long as that other OS version.)  But what I mean is the price to defend my choice.  For in the “business” world we were the outcasts, the troublemakers, and the enfants terrible of the personal computing world.

Then it happened one day.  The CFO of a major global corporation, prepping for our video shoot, revealed her latest tool: her iPad.  What is this I thought?  A business individual, a numbers person, of all things, embracing the enemy?  Is this a victory for the small guy, the rest of us? All hail the…?

Face it. Despite the worldwide acceptance of the “other” operating system as a business tool, you’ve all suffered from Mac envy.  The sleek lines, the intuitive interface, you can’t deny its appeal. And now you have an excuse to own one.  Because the iPad is rapidly becoming the most successful new business tool to be launched in decades. The consulting firm Deloitte estimates that companies will buy some 10 million tablets this year, the majority of them iPads. That’s companies! Not individuals, companies.

Apple is getting serious about the enterprise.  And Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff described current IT strategies as the “consumerization of IT.”  What’s good for the consumer is good for business. Does your business have a Facebook account? Wasn’t that once for college kids only?

The bottom line is: in the end it’s all about productivity.  Tablets like the iPad have a deep catalog of business apps that turn this mobile device into a real business workhorse. Companies are distributing them to sales people to take into the field to present products, track orders, videoconference and communicate quickly and easily.

And, they are cool.  Admit it, you always wanted to be on our side. Welcome.