Standing Tall

The Slouching Billionaire

That’s another title for this – and I don’t want to pick on Bill Gates too much, but gosh, the lessons we can learn from his Keynote at CES this year are several.

If you’re the richest man in the world I guess you can get away with posture like this, but when you have the enormous bully pulpit that Gates has, why dilute it with poor speaking skills. Take a look at this video, courtesy of Microsoft no less. Start two minutes in (after their jazzy video intro) and just watch a minute or so and ponder the experience you get. We see a man slouching with hands grasping a clicker in the posture of someone playing scared and playing small, not large – and certainly not the mark of a man of confidence. And then if you want you can watch two hours of that. Tough sledding however, as the content is not particularly visionary either. See Steve Jobs for a contrast.

Remember: You can stand tall, and why not. It’s a habit that just takes some effort to learn if it’s not immediately natural to you. As for grasping on to an object (clicker, magic marker, paper, etc.) so it appears you are clutching on for dear life, learn a new habit. you can gesture freely while you pick up the clicker ONLY when you need to move a slide. And actually, if you have billions can’t you pay for someone to move your slides for you at a Keynote of that importance?

2 comments on “Standing Tall

  1. CEOs Can do NO Wrong?

    You would think that a billionaire could spend a few bucks to sharpen those speaking skills. Bert Decker has a great post on Bill Gates’ presentation at CES this year. You can check it out here. Seriously, Bill Gates must

  2. I think that this is a prime example of someone thinking that they are “above” the need for new skills. Somehow they believe that who they are is enough. Funny how he proves it soooooo wrong. Mr. Gates should have more respect for his audience.