Mediocre to Masterful: Three Tips for Meeting Leaders

By Susan de la Vergne
My boss several years ago was a masterful meeting leader. Even when he wasn’t officially leading the meeting, he was good at it. What was his secret? He did his homework. He prepared. He had not only completed whatever assignment he had, but he’d also gauged the situation and participants beforehand.

Leadership Communication – Delivering Bad News

By Susan de la Vergne
Phil is a manager at a biotech company in Colorado that’s been acquired by an even larger one in Texas. The acquisition has been a rough ride so far. People in the acquired company don’t like the new management, and the new management hasn’t made any effort to improve that opinion.

Technical Presentations: Slides That Don’t Cut It

By Susan de la Vergne
Brace yourself. I’m going to make a shocking recommendation about how to prepare slides for technical presentations. Here goes: Don’t use design templates. Ever. You know the ones I mean, those decorative templates in PowerPoint and other slide products with the colored frames, borders and bars, and the dots and doodads in the corner. They’re a terrible idea! Why? Because design templates detract from your presentation rather than improve it.

Ho-hum. Another Project Status Meeting

By Susan de la Vergne
Ho-hum. Another project status meeting. “Wake me up when it’s over,” your co-worker says, only half kidding. The project manager greets the room and fires up the first slide. It’s part of a template, of course, which takes everyone straight to the quantifiable stuff—budget, deadlines, milestones met and missed.

Rules to Write By

By Susan de la Vergne
Technical professionals and engineers tell me the one thing that really bothers them about the whole business of writing is how messy it is. There’s no one right answer to anything. You can phrase something this way or that way, and either one is good. You can organize your subject matter one way or a different way, and both are right.

Bombarded by Messages

By Susan de la Vergne
At the gym, from my vantage point bouncing on an elliptical machine, I take an inventory of messages. That is, I look around to see how many ideas, products, and people are trying to get my attention while I am trying (somewhat in vain) to mind my own business.