How To Give Insanely Great HR Presentations…And 37 Things You Should Avoid At All Costs!

by Alan Collins

Public speaking and giving talks in your HR area of expertise is one of the fastest ways for you to promote yourself and advance your HR career.

I was reminded of this when I was recently asked to give a 30 minute talk to a group of 20 senior HR executives in Chicago.

Since I was only given a few days notice, I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare.

So I followed my “simple formula” for giving great 30 minute presentations…

Speak for 22 minutes straight from the heart.
No slides.
No handouts.
No flip charts.
Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse beforehand.
And if you must open with a joke, let it be on you.

I’ve done a lot of talks over the years.  What I’ve discovered is that the best presentations are simple, authentic, genuine and leave the audience wanting more of you, not less.

And, one of the best things I ever did for my HR career is becoming a good public speaker.  Notice I said good, NOT great!   Let me be clear: no one will ever mistake me for being the next Tony Robbins, Obama, Reagan, JFK or MLK.

However, I’m convinced that any HR professional can give terrific presentations if they’re willing to speak, prepare in advance and have a passion for their topic.

The best HR leaders seek out opportunities to speak and enthusiastically share their message all the time.  The superstars in our profession give presentations at offsite meetings, team presentations, big annual meetings, or to HR associations.  Or they lead college recruiting presentations, orientation sessions, teleclasses or webinars. They use these presentations to promote their topic, their organization…and yes, promote themselves and their HR career.

Guidelines For Giving Absolutely Horrible Presentations

The biggest presentation mistake I see HR professionals make is waiting until the last minute to prepare. They then rush to throw together a PowerPower presentation relying on it as their “crutch” to bail them out.  You can tell who these HR presenters are because they follow the guidelines below…(note: #16 & #29 are my personal favorites):

1. They just dive right to the first slide – and forget about any sort of WOW beginning
2. Show lots of slides – about 1 slide per minute (or 60 slides for a one hour presentation)
3. Focus on sharing facts and data – no interesting stories, anecdotes and examples
4. Use 12 lines of bullets per slide
5. Don’t use images or pictures on the slides, just lots of text
6. Read each slide word for word
7. Read the slide twice to make the point
8. Make an excuse about small text, “I know you can’t read this, but…”
9. Use lots of animations, especially twirls, fly-ins and spinning words
10. Make the text so small people in the back can’t see it
11. Turn their whole back to the audience when looking at a slide
12. Use that annoying laser pen
13. Make crazy little circles with their laser pen
14. Make zig-zags with their laser pen
15. Have no gestures, just stand there with arms dangling down
16. Or, wave their arms around like Michael Jackson singing Billie Jean
17. Or don’t move at all, or
18. Pace like a lion in a cage
19. Walk or stand in front of the screen (letting the words display on their face)
20. Tell a few jokes, even though they know they can’t tell a joke
21. Walk with their hands in their pant pockets
22. Fold their arms
23. Don’t sound passionate or interested in their own material
24. Don’t engage the audience
25. Memorize their slides and sound like a robot
26. Put two or three charts on one slide
27. Use those cheesy annoying sounds or fly-ins or spins as each slide is presented
28. Use as many builds as humanly possible on each slide
29. Point to a slide with their middle finger
30. Point at the audience with any finger
31. Use lots and lots of flash animation
32. Insert poorly shot videos
33. Insert videos with muddled sound
34. Use lots of word art and slanted text
35. Use child-like clip art and lots and lots of cartoons
36. Never repeat the agenda so people can follow their ideas
37. Always go over, never under their allotted time

Nobody ever walked out of one of these presentations inspired, sold, or well-informed.   They just left bored out of their freaking mind saying silently to themselves: “I wonder how long that presenter is going to keep that great HR job she has.”

Obviously, I’m building up to a better way.

Guidelines For Giving Insanely Great Presentations

If you must give a presentation — and yes, if you must use PowerPoint — the video below will show you some better guidelines to follow…compliments of the late, great Steve Jobs:

You may not be the CEO of Apple, but if you’re an HR leader (or an aspring one), you must look and sound like a leader in every talk you give.
There’s too much riding on your performance — your ability to influence others, your personal impact, your image and your career advancement in HR.

And if you’re drop dead serious about taking your HR game to the next level, start taking steps today to polish up your presentation skills.

Besides, why should you settle for just giving average presentations…when you can give insanely great ones!

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About the Author: Alan Collins was Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.   His book, WINNING BIG IN HR is now is available on Amazon.  He is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of the two HR best sellers, UNWRITTEN HR RULES and BEST KEPT HR SECRETS.

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Worried About Getting Fired? Here’s How To Create Your Own Job Security in HR…

by Alan Collins 

Awhile back, when Marissa Mayer (pictured left) left Google and joined Yahoo as the new CEO, she did something significant. 

Shortly after she took over, the long-time VP of HR, David Windley left the organization by “mutual agreement.”

Following him out the door was his #2 HR exec, Talent Acquisition Leader Grant Bassett.

Why did the CEO make these moves?

Because she could.

That’s what you do when you’re the new leader and the stock price is in the toilet.

And your biggest competitor (Google) is kicking your butt.

And everyone says your culture is all screwed up.

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Lying On Your Resume: 3 HR People Who Did It, Got Caught & How To Avoid Their Fate

by Alan Collins

Clearly, most HR pros see lots of resumes and are more familiar than most with the hiring process.

So one might think they would be the least likely to lie on their resumes.

However, that may not be so.

Based on discussions I’ve had with hiring authorities in a variety of organizations, HR folks are no different than those in any other profession.

They spin, misrepresent facts and lie on their resumes too.

I’m not surprised.

Personally, in my career, I’ve encountered an uncomfortable number of HR folks who fibbed on their resumes. However, three specific individuals stand out in my mind because: (a) they got caught and (b) I was personally involved as part of the decision made by the recruiting committee.

Here are those cases (with the names disguised to protect the guilty):

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25 Deadly Ways Your HR Department Quietly Kills It’s Credibility…And What You Can Do About It!

By Alan Collins

Every Thanksgiving our family gathers at my dad’s for dinner.

With relatives and guests, 25-30 people typically attend.

Last year, one of my cousins from Michigan joined us for the first time. He hadn’t seen us in years.

After dinner, while watching the football game, he shared with me some observations about our family dynamics and behavior at dinner.

He noticed for example: Where people sat.  How quickly people ate.  The kinds of conversations that occurred.  Who seemed be uncomfortable. Who really didn’t want to be there.  Who kept discussions going.  Who seemed to have hidden agendas.  And what different family member beliefs were on topics like sports, politics, religion and sex.

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A Little-Known, But HUGE Mistake Most HR Job Seekers Make on LinkedIn — That You Can Correct In 5 Minutes!

by Alan Collins

One of the biggest mistakes I see HR job seekers make on LinkedIn is…

…with their headline!

To clarify, your headline is located on the line immediately below your name on your LinkedIn profile.

And it’s the first thing a headhunter, recruiter or hiring manager sees – after your name and picture.

If you’re on the prowl for a new opportunity and your headline doesn’t scream and make you stand out from the 2 million other HR people around the globe, you’re toast.

With busy, overworked recruiters who are under the gun to find candidates for great jobs, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention.

If you don’t, they’ll just click past your profile and you’re SOL.

However, a good headline will stop them dead in their tracks.

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Does Your HR Resume Need A “Gimmick” For You To Attract Job Opportunities?

by Alan Collins

Let me jump right into this.

Here are just a few examples of gimmick resumes I’ve received over the years from Human Resources job candidates:

…A resume attached to a cereal box. (Submitted by a candidate for an HR manager’s position at Quaker Oats).

…A bright green resume with the candidate’s picture on it drinking Gatorade. (Obviously, someone hoping to stand out when applying for a Gatorade HR director’s job).

…A resume contained in an egg carton with faux eggs with a message inside saying “I can deliver fresh candidates for you daily.” (Thoughtfully provided by a candidate for a position in Staffing & Talent Acquisition).

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Get Your Copy of “HR Resume Secrets” Today!

by Alan Collins

For 8 months, I’ve been working quietly, under the radar, behind the scenes on my sixth book (pictured left).

It’s been an exhausting process.

But the book is finally, finally done.  I notified my subscribers about this a few days ago, and now I’m going public and letting the world know.

This book has been developed to be an “HR career game change.r”

And, I will say without hesitation that — while the topic is not new — there is nothing else like it SPECIFICALLY for HR professionals!

In this book, I will share with you strategies for how you can open doors as an HR professional, dazzle hiring managers…and get interviewed for HR positions.


By leveraging the MOST financially important document you will ever create and that is…

Your HR Resume!

Here’s the deal:  Your resume IS truly the most critical document you’ll create in your career in HR, because having one is an absolute MUST if you want to change jobs and move your career forward.


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Why They Rejected The Best HR Candidate They’d Ever Interviewed — The Shocking Truth Revealed!    

By Alan Collins

I recently ran into Taylor at a national SHRM conference where he was one of the featured speakers. 

We first met years ago when he was interviewing at our company for an HR executive position,

Seeing him again, we agreed to meet for coffee early the next morning to catch up.

As we sat down to enjoy our brews, I asked him why he decided not to join our company.

He revealed the REAL story — something I’d never heard before.


It took place in 2006.  He was interviewing with us for the HR job of his dreams.  He was one of the two finalists. It was a job he wanted desperately to land.

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26 Insanely Great Ideas For Taking Your HR Career To The Next Level…

by Alan Collins

It’s that time again.

We’re at the half-way point of 2014.

Have you taken the actions necessary to drive your career forward this year.

If not, it’s not too late.

Stuck for ideas?  Not sure what you should be going after?

No problem.

I’m going to give you 26 ideas to consider.

Most of them are simple.

A couple are completely out-of-the box.

Many of them take some work.

But all of them absolutely kick butt.

Here’s the deal:  Pick two of them and start making things happen.

Here you go: 26 ideas, any one of which — if achieved —  will easily place you among the top 5% of all HR professionals.

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