doubleshot media

for a strong, fast pick-me-up

Business lessons from #Wallabies v #Springboks (Pt 1) – #presentation, situation, variation, and duration

Do you enjoy watching great rugby clashes – like the rivalry between the Wallabies and the Springboks. I do!


I enjoy and “study” the game. I also “study” how the commentators work together as a team and also how the live telecast is put together.

I often get valuable “business lessons” – as well as enjoying the game. In my opinion live sport coverage is a tough job – requiring making fast, confident judgement calls and staying calm under pressure. A lot like business and leadership!

They usually make it look so easy, but rugby commentators and directors need “good skills” and flexibility and confidence to “back themselves”.


This lesson: Presentation, Situation and Duration Variation can help us all with our business presentations and is inspired by how messages are packaged to fit into live rugby coverage.

In my business life I often help senior and very experienced executives get even better with their business presentations.

Tony Biancotti - positive, persuasive messages

For example, I often see business presentations “fall apart” at the end because they doesn’t fit into the time alloted. Presenters rush their presentation at the end. They get flustered. The presentations end abruptly. The audience is more focussed on leaving to get on to the next thing.

I encourage presenters to prepare presentations of different duration to fit in with different situations they may face.

It’s all about: Variation of Duration depending on Situation

Take a lesson from the way advertisers package messages to fit in with a rugby game.

As you probably know in rugby there are times of exciting action and “slower” times in between as players get into position – or there is an injury or waiting for a referee decision.

The commentators need to know and when to be fast AND when to “stretch” and fill in time. Also, directors need to time when they throw to commercials to fit in with the flow of play. You don’t want to miss important action – yet you have to fit in some commercials!

In the lead-up before the actual game starts – the ads can run longer – usually around 30 secs or a package that can run 6o seconds or even 90 seconds.

During the game however the ads must be shorter.The director of live coverage will pick times to throw to shorter versions of ads – often 15 seconds.

The ads are usually a second or two under the slot they are supposed to fit into. Yes, I’m a nerd who with re-watch a game with a stop-watch to time different interviews or ads.

Better to be a bit shorter than the potential slot available.

(in another post I’ll share how to get the most from an interview and how to stay calm – like when team captains are interviewed just before they are about to play)

Bok interview

The main message of THIS post is: Prepare different presentation durations for different situations.

Prepare a shorter slide deck and time your presentation so you have a shorter version. You will have to take out some information and slides – and you’ll need to rehearse the shorter version. YOu must be familiar with the shorter deck.

I’m not saying prepare a 15 second version like a super-fast TV ad! – but do have a “shorter” version rather than your usual longer presentation.

I recommend a snappy 5-minute version of the core presentation. You can always run longer by answering questions.

helping businesses avoid cross-cultural misunderstanding - feeling a bit crook (maybe it's Monday-itis!)

I’ve been so grateful I’ve taken my own advice and prepared (and practised) shorter versions of presentations.

Once I was presenting a pitch for an assignment to the decision makers in a major Australian financial organisation in Sydney.

There was a business emergency and the head honcho had to leave catch a plane to Melbourne. His mind was obviously on other things – so I used a 5 minute version I’d prepared.

I explained that I’d give the 5 minute version. He was able to give his full attention without looking at his watch and worrying whether he’d make his plane.

I didn’t have to rush a longer presentation. I didn’t have to cut out material and skip through slides “on the fly”.

I knew the shorter presentation. I’d prepared a shorter distilled version.

The result: The head honcho got to Melbourne. We got the work.

So my message to you:

Prepare and practice shorter versions of your presentation.

From my experience as a business day or event progresses, problems and emergencies come up. More often than not if you have to present you’ll have to be ready to cut your presentation short.

Better to have a shorter presentation already prepared and rehearsed.

If you love your rugby and are interested in improving business communication, you may be interested in these other rugby-inspired posts:

How to answer questions convincingly and concisely like Matt Burke

Better presenting – like Gordon Bray


rugby montage
If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.
I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.

Linked In – under Tony Biancotti
Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication, better social media engagement etc. I like to help people COPE.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s