HP's Botched OpenWorld Keynotes: What Went Wrong

The Twittersphere erupted with negative comments while two top HP execs spoke at Oracle OpenWorld this week--but was this disaster preventable? Yes, says one presentation expert.

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So it's not easy. But then again: This is why these executives make the big bucks, right? And if tens of thousands of people are going to travel from all over the world to a conference, then shouldn't the presentations—especially the keynotes—be dynamic and powerful?

HP paid considerable dollars for this slot, and to whiff on such a grand stage must be frustrating.

When Steve Jobs Screws Up

Even the almighty Steve Jobs had a bad "preso" day when he introduced the iPhone 4. (See How Steve Jobs Beats Presentation Panic.)

Carmine Gallo, a presentation expert who wrote a book on the presentation secrets of Jobs, says that no topic is so complicated that it cannot be explained simply.

"It takes thought, however," he says, via e-mail. "How are you going to explain the concept in a way that reaches the analytical and emotional side of the brain?"

[ In the "so bad it's good" category, CIO.com honors the best of the worst PowerPoint slides. See: 8 PowerPoint Train Wrecks and 8 More PowerPoint Train Wrecks ]

Gallo notes that recently he's helped companies, which have very complex messages, turn their communications into simplified presentations—"even an organization building nuclear weapons." (Also see: 5 Ways to Ruin Your Next Presentation.)

As for Twitter, Gallo says it is a valuable tool "because people are bolder behind the keyboard. The audience is expressing the same sentiments your employees are thinking—you are boring!"

"You can have the greatest idea in the world," Gallo adds, "but if you can't communicate the idea effectively, it doesn't matter."

Thomas Wailgum covers Enterprise Software, Data Management and Personal Productivity Apps for CIO.com. Follow him on Twitter @twailgum. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline. E-mail Thomas at twailgum@cio.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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