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As an actor and communications coach, Bill Smartt knows how to speak to the room — both in person and online. Bill has been working with Postlight for years, and this week, he joins Paul and Rich with tips on how to communicate effectively and give that presentation you’re nervous about. He breaks down how to structure your deck, shares how to make eye contact on a video call, and discusses the importance of rehearsing.


Paul Ford I used to take baths and do it and my wife called it ‘tub talk’. into it and they call it my wife called a tub talk. [Bill laughs]

Rich Ziade That’s a good podcast name! We’ve got another podcast name.

PF You’re doing tub talk and I’m like, but this is how I work it out. 

[music ramps up, plays alone, fades out]

RZ Alright Paul, ready? Scenario one.

PF Ready. Ready. Scenario one. 

RZ Happening on Slack.

PF Okay.

RZ Hey Paul.

PF Hey.

RZ I was going to talk to you about this later. But we’re gonna talk about it now. Do you have a minute?

PF I have a minute.

RZ Pasted Zoom link.

PF Ugh.

RZ Scenario two.

PF Okay, scenario two.

RZ Hey, Paul, you’re such a valued client. 

PF Oh, hey, thanks. 

RZ I want to catch up with you. And make sure everything things are going well.

PF That’s good client service. What a great company.

RZ Pasted Zoom link. [Paul makes clicking sound] What is that clicking sound?

PF That’s Slack.

RZ Oh, that’s Slack. Okay. Very good. Okay, scenario three. Do you have a minute? 

PF Yes. 

RZ Pasted Zoom link.

PF Oh, no, no, no, no, no, not that last one.

RZ Bigger, more important, more consequential conversations are happening not in person. 

PF Wait, hold on. You’re saying that people are talking remotely? 

RZ I’m not just talking about casually catching up with your colleagues. Sometimes they’re high stakes.

PF Important and consequential things are happening with people not in the same office. Rich you said that couldn’t be done!

RZ But, the world is going where it wants to go, Paul.

PF Despite what you and I might want.

RZ And humans are incredibly adaptive.

PF Terrible. They’re terrible.

RZ Terrible at adapting?

PF No, no, sorry. Just terrible in general. Humans are incredible at adapting.

RZ Incredible at adapting.

PF Not really. But when forced to and in order to make money, they are really flexible.

RZ Yes. When the pandemic hit, and everybody’s working from home, you saw people really get into the gadgets that make the lighting work.

PF I did. I was like, well clearly we’re all videographers now. 

RZ And the microphone work. But there’s one more gadget that really needs fine tuning.

PF The human soul.

RZ All right. That’s too melodramatic. [Paul laughs] Guess what? We have an expert with us today.

PF We’re really lucky to actually. This is a friend of the firm. Bill Smartt. Bill, welcome.

Bill Smartt Hi, thank you so much!

PF Rich, tell the people so that he doesn’t have to shill himself, what Bill does for Postlight. Because I think it’s important.

RZ Bill Smartt with two T’s has been a friend of Postlight’s for a long time now. And what he does is he is–and Bill you are going to correct me but I’ll take a crack at it. He helps people speak to the room, speak to larger groups, speak in consequential moments.

PF Speech and communications coach.

RZ Yes. And not just in like, hey, how to get along with your colleagues. It’s like when the stakes are high and you need like your voice to bounce off the back of that room, Bill has taken his experience and his past as an actor, as a coach, and put it together and we’re very happy to have him here with us today.

PF Much of Postlight has been through the training. It’s one of the ways that we help people communicate inside of the firm, either with each other and especially with our clients. Bill, we’re glad you’re here.

BS I’m glad to be here guys. Thanks for having me. 

PF How are you doing?

BS I’m doing good!

RZ Bill, we’re in New York City right now. Bill is in New York City resident.

PF He is in the office. Very exciting. Doing a live podcast. 

RZ Yes, it is. Very excited.

PF We’re doing it as humans, instead of looking at the screen.

BS Just rode in from Astoria. 

RZ Astoria, Queens.

BS On my bike.

PF Oh, you’re on your bike, too. That’s good. I’m going home on my bike. This is exciting.

BS Before the weather gets colder.

PF Yeah, I know. But we have a little while. 

RZ Bill, you’ve been doing this for a while. Pandemic hits. Video calls, etc. 

PF You would come into the office, you would sit with people, you’d watch them, you give them direct coaching. Suddenly, you’re on screen. What changed? How’d that work?

BS Well, everything flattens out for one thing, right? So it’s a couple of things. One is, you have to think like a cinematographer. That’s part of it. You have to, you know, take all of that in mind, like what’s behind you, etc. What’s your relationship to the camera, and a lot of people that’s a big struggle, because usually your camera, you know, on your laptop is way up at the top of the screen, but the people that you’re looking at or is maybe on another screen or not close and so oftentimes when you’re talking to somebody, it looks like you’re checking your email. And so people have that sense, you know, when you go to a party and you’re talking to somebody–

RZ Your eyes are drifting.

BS And they’re sort of looking towards the door of people coming in to see if there’s someone more interesting to talk to, it’s kind of that feeling that you give to other interested if you’re not really making that direct eye contact. And now I’m talking about moments when it’s a really important conversation. Of course, you know, you’re having meetings. You can’t always have your eyes glued To the camera, but you kind of have to think, you know, I had to go back to my acting for the camera classes. And that’s what I tell people it’s like it’s basically like acting for the camera class all over you have to be aware that that camera lens is the eyeball of the other person. So in higher stakes conversations, you need to just be conscious of that. 

RZ Do you look at the camera lens when you talk?

BS Try and look at the camera lens or at least move everything that you have up as close to the camera lens as possible to the top third of your screen.

RZ The video box of the other person needs to closer up to the camera. Do you know about the Errol Morris interview robot?

PF Yeah, our listeners may not so you should explain it. 

RZ He built this ridiculous contraption that puts his face on a video screen. So that when the interviewee is being interviewed, they’re looking right into the camera. And it looks ridiculous.

PF Yeah, it’s a device that allows him to yell at Robert McNamara.

RZ He didn’t want to be in the same room with McNamara’s. Essentially why he invented the device.

BS It’s similar to a teleprompter, too, because that is also right behind the camera and it’s at an angle and you’re looking straight into it. Again, these are really important conversations you’re having with people. And oftentimes, you know, it’s your team, you maybe you’re checking in with the team member or whatever. But it’s important to have them have the illusion that you are really focused on–hopefully you are focused on the, But you are really looking looking at camera.

PF We’ll settle for the illusion for the purposes of this podcasts. 

BS One trick is you can take a picture of somebody, that’s a supportive person. And you can put that picture sort of right up by that person.

RZ You mean like Grandma?

BS Well, now grandma may be a little bit more complicated, cause you have a relationship with Grandma, but somebody that is maybe a supportive person that would bring out the best in you, right? You could put the picture of them sort of right next to that camera lens to remind you, oh, I’m talking to a person. And that’s particularly when you’re talking to a group, just as a reminder, because literally, you’re you’re staring into that lens, it’s hard to think of anything else, but that you’re staring into a lens. So you’re kind of trying to fool yourself a little bit.

RZ Let me draw out for you an absolutely catastrophic video call setting. We didn’t know how to like socialize and connect, bless everyone’s hearts that work at Postlight. But the Zoom happy hour is a grim, grim moment. It’s essentially wall of faces hanging out, no one is front and center. So there’s no small talk–because think about what happens at a party, clusters of three to five people get in circles. And I think Zoom has breakout rooms now or whatever.

BS I use them in trainings a lot. Yeah.

RZ So I guess, should we just not try? And that’s sort of social structure. It seems useless. I have other questions about when it’s higher stakes. Teams are easy, families easy. But when like the first call with a prospect.

PF Well, actually, let me let me ask this, right, because I think we’re used to calls, we’re used to a kind of communication, as we’re doing more and more this kind of communication. How do you structure your narrative? Right? Because I don’t think about that very much. I’m like, oh, here we go. Let’s get into the conversation. But how do you advise people to kind of order their thoughts and order their story before they jump into a call with a prospective client or they sell their services? Or they do whatever? Or they pitch their company?

BS Yeah, well, you know, it varies depending on who the audience is. But one that I think is really, really helpful for most situations, is, you know, you want to always choose three, when you’re structuring your thoughts–past, present, future. Pretty much covers everything. If you’re going to talk to somebody, you’re gonna talk a little bit about the past. And we’ll talk a little bit about what’s going on now. And the future is the plan that you have. So it really fits into a lot of circumstances.

PF Hey, so I know you guys had that terrible oil spill. I remember all those pictures of the penguins but today, I’ve got something really interesting I want to tell you. So like along those lines?

RZ Which is very much our narrative, actually.

BS I mean, in that case, you can say, look, here’s the history of what’s been going on in this industry. Yeah, here’s what’s happening now and how people are viewing it. This is how you need to think about in the future, and how we’re going to help you get there.

PF With these kinds of stories, especially when you’re presenting, it’s not a conversation, you’re giving them a story that they’re then going to tell back to themselves to you, right? Like you’re gonna say, like, here’s where we can take you and then they’re gonna go like, that’s interesting. Maybe you could take us that way. Or you could take us this way instead, but you’re setting them up with a tool that they can use to mirror back to you.

BS Just so I feel like having that in your back pocket as, this is the way I’m gonna think about approaching this. But I also feel like what’s important that a lot of people really miss, first, just checking in what what are they thinking about? What do they want to talk about? what’s on their mind? Listen to them. So one of the first things you do, you could say, I’m excited to talk to you about this. I have a deck and I have some information I can talk to you but first I want to check in with you talk to me about what’s going on with you and I want to get up to date on it. 

RZ And when you ask that question, they’re going to talk.

BS Exactly.

RZ People love to talk and they may take seven or eight minutes.

BS And they feel heard and that’s a really important part of the communication process. If you are preaching at them–like so let’s say you did the past, present, future and you just went in and all guns blasting, that may turn a lot of people off, they’re like actually no one’s gonna listen to me. That’s a key part of it.

RZ And I want to tack on a little sub piece of advice, that piece of advice, if they’re going to go and they may go, they may go for five or six or eight minutes, full screen that call. If they start to see people are actually very wary of this the head shift seven degrees to the left are seven degrees to the right. They know it. They’re not going to call you out on it, but they know it. And if you’re on a big screen, I got I got the 42 inch ultra wide curved whatever. You literally look like you’re looking at the dog in the corner of the room because the screen is so wide. Be careful.

PF We’ve all done it. 

RZ We’ve all done it.

PF It’s forgivable, but they know.

RZ It’s forgivable, but they know.

BS It’s like shifty eye. Like where are they looking? You know, and even though we know that and you know, we know it’s Zoom. It’s like a subconscious thing. You’re looking at something else. So yeah, I think in these high stakes situations like that, you really need to be focusing in on that camera and leaning in and really having your full focus and attention on that.

RZ You know what I find works there? If you have an iPad phone is not great because it’s a phone, you might be taking notes or whatever. But if you have an iPad, there’s no desktop. And when you come out of it, there’s actually videos off. There’s no alt tab for you. So you’re kind of locked in. And it’s better, because I’m a very fidgety person. I can’t help but I have this habit of clicking the left mouse button. 

PF You are distractible is how I would put you. 

RZ It’s bad. Yeah, I have this habit of clicking the left mouse button and I’m not clicking on anything. And I do it all the time.

PF I mean, I am too, it’s terrible. There’s another element to which is we’re just on Zoom calls too damn much.

BS I mean, that’s a big part of it.

PF It’s like your fifth of the day. You’re like, I wonder what’s happening in Slack. And then, you know, your brain can’t take anymore. 

BS And that’s where I feel like it’s not I don’t think it’s realistic to expect everyone obviously to be 100% present focused every single time it’s really just figuring out when are the stakes highest enough for you to make sure that that’s what you’re doing? Right? Yeah, so yeah, it’s just a balance. It’s like with anything.

PF So I’m gonna go in I’m going to talk to people, I’m going to think to myself, I’m going to look at the cameras if it was when I might put a picture of somebody up there. Your brother, your brother would be good for me. Bobby would be really good. And I’m gonna think to myself–

RZ He listens to this podcast. So he’s gonna be happy to hear that. Just to throw it out there. I like talking to Bobby as well.

PF But if you put a picture of Bobby on the camera, I think you’d yell at it a lot.

RZ I would yell at it. And we’d probably end up talking about Pennsylvania real estate, but that’s completely unrelated to any of this.

PF No, and then past present future so before you open your mouth, have a little plan.

BS I mean, that’s really it. And I think also too, a lot of people feel very uncomfortable doing this, but you have to, I advise talk through it out loud, like take what’s in your brain and speak it out loud. So you’re translating what’s in your brain to language–

RZ On the call?

BS No, before. 

RZ Before the call.

PF Don’t you do this? I talk to myself in the shower. I close the door.

BS You do the Better Call Saul thing. That’s why and Better Call Saul, he’s like always talking through before he goes into the room because he’s like, getting a sense of what this is gonna sound like, it’s gonna be the most concise way to say it. Also, it’ll help you organize your thoughts, and you’ll be more concise.

PF I’m always narrating.

RZ Are you really? In the shower?

PF Not just in the shower. Like if I’m working at home–it’s one of the things that’s hard for me about open plan Postlight because a lot of my work–

RZ You say it out loud?

PF Absolutely. You practice the conversation over and over and over again.

RZ I’ve never seen you do this? 

PF Yeah. Because it’s frickin weird in the office. 

RZ Yeah, I do it in front of people. If I’m in front of a friendly crowd. 

PF Yeah, we know. 

RZ It’s bad. Because you’re like, where’s he going with this? And I actually don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m thinking out loud.

PF It’s tough as a manager, because what I see–

RZ They’re looking for cues. 

PF They’re looking for cues and signals so that they can get in on the conversation and drive it forward. And what you’re doing is improvising the next five years business strategy.

RZ Live.

PF Live, and it’s just like–

RZ In real time.

PF Yes, and–we’re going to move into, you know, whatever. 

RZ But what about Mexico City?

PF Exactly, exactly. We’re gonna sell cars. 

BS But I think you kind of want a combination of those. Because, you know, you want to be able to speak off the cuff as well, but have that plan. And it really depends, like, who you are and who your audience is. So if you’re speaking to, if there’s a really high stakes conversation, then you’re gonna probably be kind of anxious about it. So I’m just saying, that prep time and going through that loud as it feels ridiculous. It feels like a waste of time.

PF I started when you see the benefit of it. I started as a journalist and writer and I would do readings and I would do you know–I was involved in all sorts of performance oriented things that had nothing to do with work. So the idea that you would sit there rehearse talking out loud do it to the mirror just do it in the room and you know work on little parts of it and repeat them over and over again. And I knew lots of musicians. And you were an actor. You are an actor. So it’s very comfortable, right? The idea that you would talk, it doesn’t feel like you’re talking to yourself. It’s actually your job, right? I think for most people, they’re like, yeah, that’s wacky.

BS Exactly.

RZ Most people think that. 

PF My wife is like, what are you doing? She’s not wired this way. And I closed the door, and I mumbled.

BS So what what I would propose is that, think about your listeners, whoever’s listening, think in terms of okay, what is a super high stakes conversation you’re going to have? Try it out, like just literally just talk through it. Say what you’re going to say out loud three or four times, and then see what happens. See if that is different. See if you have a different experience with it. It’s not the goal to memorize it, or to be scripted. It’s really just to get get to your lips and john mouth around those words. Yeah. And then get a sense of how this is going. Because oftentimes, Rich, you improvise, and you do a great job. But sometimes people improvise and they go down rabbit holes, and they don’t say what they should have said or whatever.

PF You know, one of the things I like to do is prepare the deck. But the deck has no notes. It’s just images. And they are associative, they are the sequence they hold the sequence. And so what happens is when every slide comes up, I know the topic, I know what the picture is, I know what I’m supposed to say, but I don’t have the words. So I got a riff for a few seconds. And that keeps me laying on my feet. And actually, even if I’ve rehearsed it a million times, it keeps it lively.

BS See, now you get an A plus plus. Because what happens is you’re actually speaking as if you’re talking to someone as opposed to today, we’re going to look through this, right? So I work with clients, and oftentimes that’s a big challenge. They have it so scripted. And then it’s very writerly. 

PF You need to surprise yourself a little bit, so it’ll be like, and that’s why–click–dragons, you know, if you’re gonna excite them, if you have to be a little bit like, what am I doing? Oh my god, here we go.

RZ Let me draw another rough video call scenario. Four other people, and you. They’re at another organization. And clearly three of them were dragged. They have that dragged into the meeting posture. They like look like hostages that are about to hold up newspapers to show you that they alive in the cave, right? And so that’s a rough situation, right? Because I think when you meet in person, even if you’ve been told to go to the meeting, there is something that gets unlocked just by being in the presence of other people. 

PF You also can’t watch Twitch live streams. That would be really, really disrespectful.

RZ I’ve been in meetings where some of the participants just look borderline annoyed that they were even asked to attend the meeting, is that a bad scene is that hope is you got to barrel through it. Have you ever seen like, bad magicians at carnivals?

PF In my 20s, all my theater friends would be like, I want you to come to my play. And it would be like, you need go and then you give them your $10. And you’d be in a theater the size of this room like a black box theater, and they’re doing some intimate material, lights on them. And you are in the audience, which is six people. Yeah. And you cannot move. You have to make eye contact. They’re making eye contact with you. But you have to pretend you’re not there. Yeah. And like they’re just that’s it like you are in prison. Yeah.

RZ So talk to me. So the people–it’s a tough crowd.

BS How do you as the person speaking to them not get dragged down by that? Is that what you’re asking?

RZ That’s a question.

PF First of all, you can’t win them all.

RZ You can’t win them all. 

BS That is true. 

RZ What I end up doing, which is it doesn’t always work and sometimes backfires is I actually pick a fight. I almost nudge somebody on the call, and say, where are you? Are you in a treehouse? I’ll just look at their background, just to kind of get a rise out of them. But I’d rather get friction and a little, a little tension than nothing and that sort of indifferent posture.

PF Rich will go in there and be like, I guess this is really horrible for you. Right? 

RZ I mean, I’m not proposing that as as advice, obviously, that can not go well.

PF You’re just like, oh, I guess they hate me. And you’re like, well, that’s fine. I mean, you also double down you’ll be like, well, that’s the next half hour I’m going to be talking to somebody who hates me. Not a problem for you. A lot of people don’t feel as good about that.

BS Well, you know, and to be fair, even in, you know, live situations where there are people that just have that poker face. They look like they are not interested at all.

PF Watching a performance where you are not interacting when you are on Zoom in particular is absolutely exhausting right like it’s just I have a life and a temperament and a way of communicating that there’s a very high likelihood that someone in the room is going, there he goes again. That is who I am. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn’t. Can’t win them all. On video calls, it’s a lot. It’s a lot of like–

RZ I think people tune you out, which is fine.

PF You haven’t heard a word I’ve said in seven years.

BS But you know Rich you said you pick fights but I don’t really think that’s what you’re doing, you’re actually checking in with people.

RZ I am, I’m trying to get you to engage. 

BS But in a way that’s in a joking way to get us all to laugh a little bit.

PF No, I think that this is a reasonable strategy when you’re facing those four faces on the Zoom to be like, didn’t even change your background. Hmm, like wow, tropical beach? Is that where you’d rather be than this call. I actually find that one of the things that really disturbs people is showing empathy for how exhausting it must be to talk to me right now, but then going like but of course, you’re going to need to talk to me for the next half hour.

BS You know what I think showing empathy is huge because I was doing a training yesterday and it was for this large company and they had this was the third day of this three day off site Zoom thing, right and then I so we come in, I came in for a segment of that. And the first thing is just check in is it’s like, how are you doing right now? And each person talked about it and it was like, they were like, oh, I just went and took a red eye. And you know, and for each one just bitch a little bit. Oh my god, everyone was so present for the whole rest of the time, because they you just got to understand, it’s one of those like, I’m in the middle of moving on top of everything else, you know, so it’s like, does help you to understand and connect with them in a different way.

PF So three days Zooms you are teaching people communication skills? Yeah, you’re very on. You’re a high energy person. Yeah, you’re charismatic. Three days. How are you keeping that up?

BS Well, I’ll tell you, I was actually doing one segment of the three days, thankfully.

PF Okay, because I would be like six hours of breakout rooms, everybody.

BS But I actually usually I’m pretty exhausted. I have one coming up. That will be six hours to three hour segments, and then three hours the next day.

RZ And you’re the gold standard. You got to keep it up the whole time!

PF You have to be engaged, eye contact, charismatic, cheerful.

BS It’s those actors skills kick in. It’s like, Oh, shit, the audience is there and all of a sudden the lights on and I will find it–

PF The Zoom footlights. But you’re wiped after.

BS I’m totally wiped after.

RZ Last topic. Okay, I’m going to share my screen.

PF Okay. Now, five minutes of fumbling while you try to.

RZ Can you see that? Can anybody see that? 

PF Yeah, that’s your calendar, it looks like you have a therapist appointment?

RZ You know, I was thinking about this yesterday, we had an all company meeting. And we do this thing at Postlight, where everybody who joins the company shares a fun fact about themselves. And it’s really cute. And the way the software works is there’s one person that is managing the deck for the company meeting. And instead of us seeing that person talk to us about their fun fact, essentially introducing themselves to 100 people. We look at that slide.

PF It says their name, that’s it.

RZ It says their name. And that is something that to me, that’s a social software bug, so to speak. You’re actually you’ve got a group of people on a call, and the screen has been shared and that dominates. But very often, when you’re sharing that screen, it’s for a moment for you to read the sentence, and then that person’s going to talk for three more minutes. And what you find is you’re kind of wedged up over in the corner because the screen is dominating experience there.

PF It’s an easy one to get distracted as an audience member. You really drift.

RZ It’s the same slide. It’s starring at that one slide.  Q3 results is all it says, but that person talks for seven minutes or eight minutes. I think you should stop sharing so you can talk for a minute.

PF You know what I miss? I would sometimes take conference calls and you walk away from the computer and you lie on the floor. 

RZ Really? 

PF Yeah, because what else are you gonna do?

RZ Oh you’re still on the call. You’re not on video.

PF I’m on audio.

RZ Where are you?

PF At home, anywhere where nobody’s watching. It’s weird to do that at the office. Or headphones wandering around, but no opportunity for other stimulus. And it actually, I think that’s a funny thing with brains is that if you don’t have 50, shiny things in front of you, you will focus on the thing that’s coming into your brain. But if you have the 50, shiny things, you need to touch all of them. 

BS Yeah, well, and that’s where also when you’re on a phone call, it’s just a very different experience. And there is a way to focus on a phone, it’s very different than the video.

PF Yeah, I find it much easier to focus. 

BS But to your point Rich about, this is really the thing, okay? You have to think put yourself in your audience’s shoes, if they’re staring at this one slide the whole time? And how long are you going to talk? So this is where you, you would presumably go through it and see how long is it going to take me to get through whatever it is I’m saying? Yeah, but in that situation, I would, you know, share this, this screen and then go to the person we want to see the person talking. 

RZ Zoom in on that person, they have the floor. 

BS Yeah. I mean, if you’re trying to get to know each other, you want to see that person. 

RZ I think the social etiquette and the social norms that are taking hold over the last year, the software is not caught up. We’re still figuring it out.

PF We get that big wall of faces. It’s like that game where you flip things over to find the two matching apples. You’re just like, yeah, where are they?

BS Like you said, though, it’s sort of when someone’s like, Okay, I’m going to share my screen. So that is a process you have to go through to find out how to share your screen, etc, etc. And that is just that’s very different than just okay, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about your fun fact about yourself? Yeah, well, let me tell you a wait a minute, I have to stop. Now I have to do this thing, right? Yeah, I would say whenever possible, just don’t use slides. I think slides have their place. But I think that they’re overused, just talk to people. I was coaching someone the other day, and they said, actually, in this session, and one of the things we’re working on is okay, I want you to explain this concept to you know, another person or whatever, and we’re, they’re going to go in breakout rooms and work on with structure and explaining a concept. And he’s like, Oh, you know, I’m, I’m not used to doing this without slides. I really need the answer. Okay, this is a great challenge for you. Because what I want you to do is I want you to communicate everything you need to without a slide. And when he did that, he’s like, that was so helpful for me, because now he goes back to what are the main things that I’m trying to get across to people? What are the most important things? Yeah, and we’re jamming them into a slide after throws the slide up. There’s all this stuff on the slide is usually way too much on there anyway. Yeah. And he will talk to it and put everyone to sleep. Yep. Whereas now no talk, just talk to me. So but you know, a lot of times, I’m just like, Can you just ditch the slide? Yeah, same thing with someone who’s pitching for funds. You know, a lot of company I was working with, they had this deck and they were married to the deck and I said, look, you’re going to be having conversations with investors, let’s just talk, let’s have that conversation don’t need. Let’s not use the deck, here’s the things they need to know. Here’s the things you need to communicate, it was so much more effective. Now go back to the deck and figure out based on that conversation, then but the deck together based on that.

PF I always used to have this weird joke, and nobody thought it was funny. But the only reason PowerPoints exist is because it’s intolerable for humans to communicate directly. And the power differential between somebody standing up and talking and the audience is so uncomfortable that you need to have pictures in the middle. But what I’m joking about actually isn’t like, I feel that slides are because we’re afraid to communicate too much. Like we’re just afraid to be that vulnerable on stage and so people put the slides between themselves and the audience. But the only way to get there is to talk to yourself in the shower. This is the tricky thing. So you actually have to be vulnerable like five different ways to get up there without the pictures.

BS I mean, you know, slides and pictures have their place right there picture’s worth 1000 words etc etc right? It’s just leaning on that so much and I think also too they have become a way to communicate pretty much everything. so if you have a plan, well send me the deck. And then someone will study that deck, which is fine.

RZ It’s become the new document.

BS But one of the mistake people make is they take that deck and then like oh I’m gonna talk to speak to this and like no no, you need to create a different deck yeah or pull all that information often just be really careful about you know what it is you’re communicating live but yeah, but also to I think to your point it’s true people you know, on Zoom it’s easier if the slide deck is up there. Yeah, it is opposed Yeah, your face or having to think that people are focusing on us so that’s that’s part of it, too.

RZ We actually have an old podcast where we gave presentation tips that a lot of them aligned with what Bill’s talking about.

PF Well we learned from the best.

RZ Who was the best?

PF Bill.

RZ Oh, no, no. The old podcast. Like podcast number 71 or something. So Bill, if people–you are for hire.

PF What are the services you provide?

BS So the services that I provide our one on one coaching for whatever it is that you may be preparing for, you may be pitching something, you may need to be a better communicator, with your staff as a leader. He may need to be a better communicator. So one on one coaching and then I’ll also offer group coaching. Large and small group coaching. And it’s virtual and live.

RZ Okay, great. So you’re available for live as well. How do people reach out to you?

BS They reach out to me at That’s two T’s.

PF Alright, so wait, how much is this? Just so people know?

RZ Uh oh. Sticker shock time.

BS It’s free!

RZ What!

PF No! It can’t be!

BS It’s absolutely free. 

PF Oh, my goodness.

BS Just reach out to me at before November 15. And the first 20 people to me and mentioned this podcast will get 30 minutes free coaching.

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PF Promo code Postlight. Wow, that’s pretty good. I mean, that’s an excellent deal to get 30 minutes of free coaching. People should take him up on that. 

BS And you know, usually within the first when I’m coaching someone, and I can tell within like the first 30 seconds, what it is they’re going to need to work on.

PF All right. Get your free advice. Get in there.

RZ Guess what doesn’t give away any services, Paul?

PF Postlight.

RZ Postlight charges money for services, Paul.

PF We actually give the first half hour advice for free all the time.

RZ This is true. You can reach out to us and we love to hear what you’re doing, what you need help with. And yes, we have a world class group of designers, engineers, product thinkers, product strategists, product managers. But we do love to talk. We love to put our heads together and figure out how we can help you. A lot of good case studies of Bill, this has been a pleasure. Thanks again for doing this.

BS Thanks so much for having me in. Always a pleasure.

PF Good, it was good and I learned a lot. 

RZ Have a lovely week everyone.

PF Bye!

BS Bye!

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