Harvard Business Review Special Issues Summer 2019

Harvard Business Review OnPoint makes it fast and easy to put HBR’s ideas to work. Handpicked by HBR’s editors to bring readers the most relevant ideas and insight on a single business topic, these collections include full-text articles, summaries of key points, and suggestions for further reading, plus content selected from hbr.org.

United States
Harvard Business School Publishing


nail your next presentation

You have 10 minutes to speak. You’ll be up onstage—or in front of a camera, or sitting with important investors—and everyone will be looking at you. It’s the perfect opportunity to share your story, make your pitch, and dazzle everyone with the idea you’ve been working on for months. How do you make the most of it without letting your nerves hijack the show? Begin by developing your presentation: Identify the story you want to tell, craft its structure, and turn your data into persuasive charts. In “How to Give a Killer Presentation,” Chris Anderson describes how the team at TED helps speakers frame their stories, free themselves from dependence on notes and teleprompters, and use multimedia-like slides and video effectively. Also reflect on whether your deck helps or hurts you:…

how to give a killer presentation

A LITTLE MORE THAN a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from lions—especially at night. Richard had noticed that placing lamps in a field didn’t deter lion attacks, but when he walked the field with a torch, the lions stayed away. From a young age, he’d been interested in electronics, teaching himself by, for example, taking apart his parents’ radio. He used that experience to devise a system of lights that would turn on and off in sequence—using solar panels, a car battery, and a motorcycle indicator box—and…

find the perfect mix of data and narrative

Most presentations lie somewhere on the continuum between a report and a story. A report is data rich, exhaustive, and informative—but not very engaging. Stories help a speaker connect with an audience, but listeners often want facts and information, too. Great presenters layer story and information like a cake and understand that different types of talks require differing ingredients. Report Literal, Informational, Factual, Exhaustive Story Dramatic, Experiential, Evocative, Persuasive Research Findings If your goal is to communicate information from a written report, send the full document to the audience in advance, and limit the presentation to key takeaways. Don’t do a long slide show that repeats all your findings. Anyone who’s really interested can read the report; everyone else will appreciate brevity. Financial Presentation Financial audiences love data, and they’ll want the details. Satisfy their analytical appetite with…

10 ways to ruin a presentation

1 Take a really long time to explain what your talk is about. 2 Speak slowly and dramatically. Why talk when you can orate? 3 Make sure you subtly let everyone know how important you are. 4 Refer to your book repeatedly. Even better, quote yourself from it. 5 Cram your slides with numerous text bullet points and multiple fonts. 6 Use lots of unexplained technical jargon to make yourself sound smart. 7 Speak at great length about the history of your organization and its glorious achievements. 8 Don’t bother rehearsing to check how long your talk is running. 9 Sound as if you’re reciting your talk from memory. 10 Never, ever make eye contact with anyone in the audience.…

visualizations that really work

NOT LONG AGO, the ability to create smart data visualizations, or dataviz, was a nice-to-have skill. For the most part, it benefited design- and data-minded managers who made a deliberate decision to invest in acquiring it. That’s changed. Now visual communication is a must-have skill for all managers, because more and more often, it’s the only way to make sense of the work they do. Data is the primary force behind this shift. Decision making increasingly relies on data, which comes at us with such overwhelming velocity, and in such volume, that we can’t comprehend it without some layer of abstraction, such as a visual one. A typical example: At Boeing the managers of the Osprey program need to improve the efficiency of the aircraft’s takeoffs and landings. But each time…

how to give a stellar presentation

SPEAKING IN front of a group—no matter how big or small—can be stressful. Preparation is key, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth. From creating your slides to wrapping up your talk, what should you do to give a presentation that people will remember? What the Experts Say Public speaking often tops the list of people’s fears. “When all eyes are on you, you feel exposed,” says Nick Morgan, the president and founder of Public Words and author of Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014). “This classically leads to feelings of shame and embarrassment.” In other words, fear of humiliation is at the root of our performance anxiety. Another problem: “Speakers often set a standard of perfection for themselves…