Last week I was in Charlotte, NC teaching a technical presentation skills program for one of my favorite clients, Autodesk. Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) is an American mulitnational corporation that focuses on 2D and 3D design software for use in architecture, engineering and building construction, manufacturing, and media and entertainment. The company is best known for its flagship computer-aided design software AutoCAD. Autodesk is the world’s largest design software company, with more than 9 million users throughout the world. The company was recently named number 25 on Fast Company's list of “The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies.”
It was a pleasure to work with a group of twelve experienced and talented Application Engineers (AEs) in our three-day program. My goal was to help them structure, develop and refine their product demonstrations so they can deliver powerful, solution-oriented presentations to their customers.
AEs give demo presentations for a living and they have speaking and travel schedules to prove it. It is always a pleasure to work with people who frequently give presentations because they have such deep experience with their products, knowledge of their audience…and plenty of war stories. Their job requires that they be highly prepared, well disciplined and polished. Their customers expect this of them.
In the world of presentation skills the demo presentation stands alone. Most public speakers multitask—they must concentrate on their message, coordinate their non-verbal and verbal delivery skills, manage their staging and technical requirements and synchronize their PowerPoint slideware. But the Application Engineers take multitasking to a whole new level. Not only do they have to do all of the above, but they also have to be able to run and manage complex software applications with proven ease and fluidity on top of everything else. This requires more than simply rubbing your stomach and tapping your head—it is equivalent to giving a presentation while cooking a gourmet meal. Think Iron Chef. Think Iron AE.
Autodesk’s focus is to help users visualize, simulate and analyze real-world performance throughout the design process. And that’s what the AEs did in their final presentations. They graduated with flying colors…and reminded me why I love my job.
Here are some recent blog articles written by Autodesk employees that I recommend checking out: