What’s the Story? Pitching and Presentation Masterclass with Bob Keiller

Once upon a time, I learned about Presenting and Pitching with Bob Keiller.

When I was first told by Kallum that Bob Keiller was coming to deliver a Pitching and Presentation Masterclass to the Acorn community, I said “Bob who?”.

Kallum, gave me a brief description of who Bob is and what he has done in the past. He emphasised his major participation in the Wood Group and mentioned awards and investments he had achieved. I was like “Ok, cool” – I had never heard of the Wood Group before!

Bob Keiller TedxGlasgow Talk

Then he told me that Bob delivered a Tedx Talk and that is when I got interested!

I checked out Bob’s TEDxGlasgow talk on Core Values, and that is when he had me hooked.

Bob spoke about: doing the right thing, making sure people really knew about the values and that the whole company adhered to them.

“There’s Got to Be A Better Way!”

I worked in McDonalds for twelve years. Once upon a time, values were practiced and incorporated throughout. With extra thanks to my boss, he ensured everything we breathed was to deliver: high standards of quality, service and cleanliness, whilst enjoying the job.

With his values and passion, he pulled together a working family. We worked with pride in the job and we wanted to be the best. Recently, I feel that McDonalds has lost those values, that ability to be proud and really wanting to go the extra mile.

They have great learning materials but no time to train staff, to gain real value from this and put it into practice. In my opinion, McDonalds focus too much on results. They watch every penny but have forgotten their true purpose. Staff are demotivated, exhausted, fed up, and quite frankly pissed off!

They don’t know why they are doing what they are doing because it is never communicated to them.

I can relate to Bob Keiller’s Tedxtalk because it was the very loss of these values that made me go back into education. I believed, “It’s got to be better than this. There’s got to be another way – the right way!”.

Education and things like Bob’s Tedx talk clarify that in my own head there IS another way. In the future, I hope we can help these very organisations that desperately need it.

Bob turned a multi-billion pound oil and gas company around, by doing core values. I believe that anyone else sure as hell can in their own company, no matter how busy you are!

So, after checking out Bob’s Tedx talk, I messaged Kallum, “YES! I LOVE BOB KEILLER!!!!”…controversial, I know! <3

It got me extra excited about him coming to do his Pitching and Presentation Masterclass, which was something else!

Honest Feedback

The first thing Bob hit us with during this event was feedback.

He taught us that if you don’t give people permission to give you honest feedback in your presentations, people will say, “that was great.”

They are really just being nice, as they possibly don’t know you so won’t want to upset you by being honest.

In reality, your presentation was probably dire or average. And you will go on to present the same one to other audiences in the future with no practice, no tweaks and no feedback.

How many times have you said, “I’ll just throw some slides together last minute and wing it?”.

Honest feedback = a real opportunity for learning and development.

Bob taught us that ultimately a poor presentation could lead to someone’s death, and that story is sadly true.

The 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster

Bob told us the story of the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. A large piece of foam fell from the shuttles tank breaching the spacecraft wing. The same thing had happened on previous missions and was mentioned in a PowerPoint presentation to NASA managers.

The problem highlighted was integrated into a presentation with lots of overloaded slides. The way it was put together and delivered meant that this vital information did not grab the managers attentions enough.

Because this issue was not emphasised or convincing enough, it ultimately led to the deaths of another seven astronauts.

A thorough investigation after this tragic event concluded that this presentation failed to articulate clearly the severity of the problem. And this was one of the main contributing factors that led to the eventual outcome.

Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

Bob also taught us how to overcome our fears of public speaking. This is one area I can most definitely relate to, and I’m sure you can to!

The people who teach us how to overcome the fear of public speaking all say the same thing repeatedly: Prepare and Practice…Bob Keiller just describes it in a better way, with real examples and a process to follow. It’s also the way he does this: with passion, energy and a compelling tone!

If you or I truly want to overcome this fear then set aside the time to prepare, rehearse and edit. Bob shows that presenting is an artform.

Remember, masterpieces don’t take a day to compose.

The Bob Keiller Storytelling Experience

The most important aspect I learned was the storytelling experience, which is completely fascinating. Throughout Bob’s Masterclass, he told us story after story after story, with hyper-engagement from the audience.

The stories took us through all the emotions during the class – some were funny, some were sad, some were enlightening.

Every story had a message that pulled us in and gripped us. There was always a lesson at the end of it, and that lesson was well and truly embedded.

He made us use our own imagination and visualise so we could relate to the stories. After all, we all have our own perceptions of the world…the precise point he was making.

The Final Chapter

In the end, I came from a place of fear and anxiety of presenting and public speaking. I thought I might never get over this! Bob Keiller’s masterclass put everything into perspective and has boosted my confidence.

I am not saying I am ready to take on the public speaking world just yet, as that’s going to take a lot of practice. However, I feel more comfortable at the thought of it, as I am armed with the knowledge and confidence to tackle it head on!

We also need to change our mindset. As soon as we think “presentation”, we need to silence that voice in our head that automatically shouts “PowerPoint”. They are art forms that take serious time, dedication and creativity to craft.

We also need to be taught better. I feel the education system planted in my head that presentations must be done by PowerPoint and that all of the information must be crammed on slides. Then the feedback was on the information rather than the presentation itself, style and creativity.

In four years, I only had one class on presenting and barely touched on what Bob Keiller went through during this event! Presenting, public speaking and even pitching in the world are vital skills that are used daily, and we need to tackle it better.

If presenting was taught the way Bob taught us today, tailored to children, I believe this fear of public speaking could be diminished over time. This would also save us from any duller presentations and, most importantly, save people’s lives!

The End

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