Consultants are a truly mobile workforce. Give us a chair, a table, and a power plug, and we can get going. (I have worked without a chair, without a table, and without power in some cases, but not with all three missing so far…)
In a post about buying travel gear I promised to give you all an inside scoop to my portable office – today is the day!
What does a consultant have in his briefcase?
The laptop plus charger is a given, I didn’t take a photo of it. Then there is always some amount of paper you carry around – though I have been able to minimize this since I use the iPad at work. I exclusively take notes during meetings with the iPad now, and most documents for review are handled there as well. Works great!
But what about the details? Let’s start with the cables department.Read More
This is a time sensitive matter, and unfortunately it only applies to those in the EU:
Vente Privee, the online privat sales giant, has a sales event for TUMI bags and briefcases starting tomorrow, Friday 15th 2012, 7am CEST (UTC+2). It will run for approximately three days, but the best deals go very fast, so you gotta be quick!
I scored my beloved TUMI briefcase last year the same way, and I paid less than 50% of the regular price. I have been very impressed by the sturdiness, the quality and the little details of the bag – it really is the road warriors’ choice. Plus, many of my former and current colleagues swear on TUMI luggage… so many consultants can’t be wrong
I checked Vente Privee US, but they don’t have the same offer on schedule. TUMI was only on sale one time last year – so my best guess is that you’ll have to wait twelve months before it comes around again. I have not seen TUMI discounted so much anywhere else in Europe – so if you always wanted to replace your laptop bag or suitcase with “the real deal”, tomorrow is the time!
If you are not a member of Vente Privee yet, you can use my invite code:
(Disclosure: I get a 8 EUR voucher from Vente Privee if you sign up through this link, but no further commission or anything else)
This public service announcement has been brought to you by the KillerConsultantRead More
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.
(Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken“)
Craig Roth from Gartner wrote a great post on his blog about the “Sent from my iPhone / BlackBerry” lines that are automatically attached to emails you write on those devices by default. He argues that they are often abused as apologies for not writing coherent, complete and spellchecked email replies. Damn right he is!
A short while later today, Hugh McLeod published a drawing with the slogan “I don’t have a career. I have a blackberry.” – inspired by people like us, I guess, who stand around at airports and yack away at their BlackBerries. He wonders what work really gets done in those moments…
This is enough. Apparently, it needs to be said. Out loud.
YOUR BLACKBERRY IS NO EXCUSE FOR BAD EMAILS!
Consultants do present in front of board rooms full of CXO’s the whole time, from Monday to Friday, even the most junior ones.
Nah, ‘course not. Most of the time, the Powerpoint slides you do never end up being projected on a wall, but rather emailed and printed. And, I hate to brake it to you, there are weeks when you don’t have a sit-in at the CEO’s office. He still calls you, of course, but that’s just a given. (If you haven’t noticed the tongue-in-cheek yet, for all its worth, go become a banker)
Still there regularly are occasions when you get to actually present. For those times, the right tools can kick your performance up a notch. There’s no use in gadgets without solid preparation – both of the material to be presented and the performance itself – but let’s assume that you did your homework for now.
Think about one of the last keynote presentation Steve Jobs gave. See what you don’t see? Right. He doesn’t stand there hunched over his laptop, clicking the slides forward.
He’s got a remote. You need one, too.
Maybe not the exact same one – that one costs you around 500 EUR minimum. It’s a great piece of tech, but for 99% of the settings… a bit over the top. But fear not, there are many affordable options out there.
What you want is a device that advances the slides on the push of a button, remotely. There are many option out there, the cheapest I saw cost about 25 EUR. I got myself a Logitech Presenter (about 60 EUR), mainly just to pamper myself, but there are some features I like:
- It has a built-in timer that gives you a countdown, an indication which quarter of your time you are in, and buzzes when you are about to run out of time: This saves me looking at the watch, plus I can glance at it relatively unnoticed.
- It has buttons to get the presentation started, to blank the screen and a switch on the side to control the volume of the computer – great when you are showing embedded video/audio files and the sound level is not perfect from the start.
- There’s a laser pointer embedded. I mostly use it to fool around, but it might come in handy.
- It has a three-level battery indicator which reduces guesswork
- The USB dongle fits inside the remote, so risk of losing it is minimized.
The basic feature set you are looking for, anyway: Slide forward / slide backward, a button to blank the screen as bonus. Don’t go for anything that just submits “left mouse click / right mouse click” – especially in consulting presentations, you almost always have to get back a few slides when questions pop up, and it’s worth nothing when on a right click the context menu pops up. Too much hassle.
What is in it for you?
- You can move about freely. Most often, you still look at the screen of your laptop to see the slide that is shown behind you, but now you don’t hunch over it like a hen protecting its eggs. This leads to…
- Better presence on stage. Your posture is a big part in how you are perceived as a presenter. Plus, it has a feel of professionalism to it when you don’t have to glance over to your colleague to have him click to the next slide or do it yourself.
- Last and most importantly: You are more relaxed while presenting. This cannot be paid in gold. When you are in front of the client, presenting the results of that big, expensive consulting project – you need all your mojo on the content and on your performance.
I know I mentioned this before, but for those of you who didn’t catch it while in print: Zeit Campus recently released the article they did about me and (mainly) the content of my suitcase on their website.
So, in case you were wondering what the heck a consultant has in the black trolley, this is your chance to get the inside scoop.
“Der Typ mit dem Koffer” (Zeit Campus online)
Thanks again to Inge Kutter and Malin Schulz from Zeit Campus who made this a really pleasurable experience, and to Achim from my employer’s press department who gave me this fun opportunity.Read More