November 19, 2014
Presentation Skillz, The Movie
you want to sharpen the professional skills of a group of twenty colleagues.
Suppose this group was dispersed geographically, and further suppose, you did
not have a budget or the time to bring everyone in for a formal training
session. What could you do?
That was the
challenge that Tim Moore, Senior Manager in Operations at American Express,
faced. As part of a Growth & Development team within Operations, he had two
weeks to deliver a learning experience to his group that would focus on
sharpening their presentation skills, without being able to deliver a formal
His solution was very “dramatic.”
Lights! Camera! Action!
Tim and his Growth & Development committee came up with the clever idea to use a
movie metaphor to accomplish their goal. Here’s how it worked.
They sent a series of emails to everyone over the two week period and ended the
two weeks with a tele-present group meeting (For those not familiar with this
technology, you sit in a room opposite a very large screen and you can see and
talk to people in different locations as if they were in the same room with
The actual content of the emails addressed Preparation, Content and Delivery,
but these topics were presented in the context of a movie. One of the actual
emails, the second of two on Preparation, is below. The links in it took readers
to internal proprietary resources at American Express for real world examples,
information, etc. (I was delighted to see Tim include references to me and my
Metaphor Mem-Cards, so those links do work for readers who would like to pursue
PRESENTATION SKILLZ - An Interview with Producer/Director - Timothy
Moore (Part 2 of 2).
Email: A DISCUSSION (PART 2 of 2) WITH TIMOTHY MOORE, ACCLAIMED PRODUCER AND
SPEAKING ABOUT HIS NEW FILM PRESENTATION SKILLZ.
Presentation Skillz is written by Josh ___, Timothy Moore’s longtime
And the film features one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood, Jane ___
The NYC world premiere of Presentation Skillz is November ___ 2014.
THE WIRE: Mr. Moore, welcome back.
TIMOTHY MOORE: Thanks for having me!
THE WIRE: We left off yesterday talking about aligning your work with business
objectives. Do you
have any other secrets or pointers?
T.M.: Here’s the thing – it’s obvious that being an expert in the subject matter
will help a lot. But let’s be honest, if the
story is lousy, it will fall flat.
You need a nice arc to your narrative that will lift the audience up, and
deliver them safely and soundly back to a
key message. I enlisted the help of
frequent collaborator of mine, and close friend, ____ to help me bring my story
to life. He is a miracle worker! I’m also grateful to him for his casting
ability. He knows everyone in the business and was able to sit down with _____
to pitch the film. The energy she brings to the set is just amazing – a real
pleasure to work with and she’s ….she’s MAGIC.
THE WIRE: Is there anyone else you work with behind the scenes?
T.M.: It’s funny you mention that. One uncredited collaborator is a very
talented and knowledgeable professional, Anne Miller, who was brought in to talk
about the strength of metaphors during a three day forum at American Express. I
had just joined Operational Excellence team a few months ago, and I found her
approach to seizing the attention of audiences inspiring.
THE WIRE: How have you incorporated her teachings into your work?
T.M.: Firstly, Anne taught me to
speak visually. This has helped me enormously
in making an impact on my audience. Part of the trick is getting into the
habit of thinking about metaphors in four steps.
Let me give you an example of one of Anne’s ideas that I have found most useful.
Think about how often we present numbers in our work. Numbers are abstractions
until you are able to get the audience to relate to them in a way that they can see/feel/heard/taste/smell
it. In other words, there are ways of talking about numbers to
make them stick.
Check out all of her
Mem-Cards – they are fantastic!
THE WIRE: Mr. Moore, thanks for speaking with The Wire. We are looking forward
to hearing from your writer, Josh___ and your featured star, Jane ____
T.M.: It was a pleasure, thank you.
A transcript of The Wire’s conversation with Timothy Moore can be found here.
Tim’s emails were about Preparation. There were “Screen Writer” emails about
Content and an “Actor’s” email about Delivery, all with links to internal
material. The final stage in this learning experience was that Tele-present
meeting I mentioned above, where Tim showed an entertaining PPT summarizing the
highlights of an effective presentation, followed by a case, for which the group
had to create a presentation.
Tim said, “It did take time to create and execute this learning experience, but
everyone really enjoyed the novelty of how we did it and really got into it. We
were very pleased with the results.”
Congratulations, Tim, for a very creative use of metaphor to resolve a very real
business challenge and thank you for sharing!
Have a very Happy
Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.
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