Breaking the Ice, CEO Style

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What do Nintendo’s Reggie Fils-Aime, EA’s Peter Moore, and The Escapist‘s publisher Alexander Macris all have in common? They’ve all been quoted by Forbes, and they all know how to give a damn good presentation.

Now, despite what the media might think, we gamers are a fairly wide and diverse bunch. Students game, professors game, scientists game – even His Holiness the Karmapa Lama games. Businessmen and CEOs play games too – so if you’re out there reading this as a CEO, or would like to be a CEO one day, you might do well to follow the advice of Themis Group CEO (and publisher of The Escapist) Alex Macris as related by Forbes: How do you give a good presentation?

If you’re a gamer speaking to other gamers, there’s automatically a connection there, and a shared hobby results in a basic level of interest in whatever you’re saying. But if you’re a gamer speaking to non-gamers – especially on a business level – it’s significantly more difficult to grab their attention. That means that the presenter has to work that much harder to keep them interested in the words coming out of their mouth.

“I try to be high energy, I try to engage the audience (show of hands, votes, etc.),” says Macris. The value of humor cannot be underestimated, he explained, not just as an ice-breaker but to show the audience you know your stuff: “I ad-lib a lot, and I try to win a laugh. A bit of self-deprecating humor can be very disarming, and it demonstrates that you have the confidence, not just to present, but to laugh at yourself in front of others while doing so.”

Come to think of it, this might not be just a CEO thing. People fear public speaking more than they fear death, after all – so every last bit of advice helps.

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