Tag Archive for 'structure'

Speech Analysis by The One Minute Presenter on Ginni Rometty, first female CEO of IBM

Ginni Rometty is a very well prepared presenter with a clear structure and message. She delivers in an energetic and engaging manner and speaks in way that helps the audience understand her message.

You can watch the video of this speech here. [Tip: if you double click the video, it will play with subtitles in full screen]

Length of speech: Under 12 minutes

Here is my breakdown of the speech. The things that are great about the speech are:

  • Rapport building from the start
  • Framing the presentation
  • Let’s the audience know the purpose
  • Connecting questions
  • Vocal Pacing
  • Uses Taglines to deliver clear messages
  • Uses statistics and anecdotes to support message
  • Gestures add energy and impact to key messages
  • Rule of three

The areas that could be improved include:

  • Stretching supporting points to make them fit an idea
  • Fluidity

Here is my breakdown of the speech. The things that are great about the speech are:

Rapport building from the start
Started with a rapport builder about travelling in bad weather and the color purple. Good reaction from the audience. Great ice-breaker. Ginni also uses people’s names from time to time which is part of her personal style. It works to bring the audience closer to the speaker.

09:40 Ginni also employs a call back technique that many stand up comedians use. She sets up her point by citing the study mentioned in the opening.

09:55 Calls back the Drucker quote mentioned earlier. “the best way to predict the future is to create the future”

Uses ‘we’ throughout the speech to include herself in the challenges facing the CIO audience [Ginni was IBM CIO at the time of this speech]

Framing the presentation

This is a good technique which Steve Jobs would employ. Overviewing the talk in 30 seconds:

00:50 Smarter Planet is a Business Strategy, Why is it resonating?, A decade of smart

Let’s the audience know the purpose

03:10 How can you think differently when implementing. Uses examples to  add credibility to what is coming with Eindoven’s pilot roll-out 70% pilot traffic, Tennessee Valley Authority – largest public utility, and Shell.

Connecting questions

A higher level skill which involves using a question to connect or engage with the audience [without waiting for interaction] and then delivering a key message or point.

02:25 And you may say, what’s so interesting about that? Except it connects….

06:00 But what do you guess is the number one inhibitor for growth? Lack of integrated information

06:15 As growth returns, what kind of growth? And that’s what I meant by pushing the boundaries

07:05 How do you go make a market? This is where I really assert…

Vocal Pacing

Clear and easy to understand throughout. Shows how to deliver to an international audience.

Uses Taglines to deliver clear messages
03:10 3 Observations
1. The New Normal “productivity while you grow”
2. Pushing the Boundary “through data”
3. New leadership for new economy “compliance”

Uses statistics and anecdotes to support message
Ginni uses a mix of data to support her point. She cites EIU reports, IBM studys, anecdotes, statisitics on CEOs changing position and also historical data referring back to past recessions. She doesn’t use slides and instead deliver short precise anecdotes to back up her points.

Example from section on The New Normal

05:20 Statistics: EIU report 90% of CEOs → focus on productivity. IBM study CFO 70% input to growth agenda BUT lack of integrated information

07:15 Example of health insurer using data

08:00 Statistics on 2,700 CEOs positions change

Gestures add energy and impact to key messages

Ginni uses gestures actively and throughout the presentation. Some gestures include:

00:50 – count to three on her fingers [although the third point was forgotten!]

01:00 risk and efficiencies using the ‘on the one hand, on the other hand’ gesture

02:00 ‘foundation’ ‘rollout’

03:20 Three observations

03:35 ‘pushing the boundary’

Like all energetic speakers, Ginni tends to over-gesture. In other words, many gestures are not linked to a clear point. In my opinion, this does not distract too much and does not detract from her message.

Warwick’s coaching tip:

Note the way that Ginni linked specific gestures to her key message, like ‘pushing the boundary’. This is intentional and most like pre-planned. After you have identified your presentations key message see how you can create a simple gesture to add impact to it.

Rule of three

Structure is made clear at the beginning:

1. The New Normal “productivity while you grow”
2. Pushing the Boundary “through data”
3. New leadership for new economy “compliance”

08:00 New leadership for that new environment and that new economy [repetition of ‘new’] adds more impact

08:40 “Bold, open-minded and persuasive” is a good example of rule of three in a message

11:30 for conclusion wrapped up with three main messages

The areas that could be improved include:

Stretching supporting points to make them fit an idea

Ginni used an example of Kraft introducing a product just after Great Depression to support her point that leaders need to be bold, open-minded and persuasive in difficult times. The Kraft example worked but the others felt too stretched.

2001 while Apple launched iPod on 23 October 2011 after the 9-11 event that Ginni alludes to – this launch would have been in plan for months or years. In 1954, Texas Instrument introduced the transistor radio but it had been in development for many years and the bottleneck was around finding a suitable manufacturer.

Warwick’s coaching tip:

It’s good technique to find supporting evidence to back up your message. Ensure that the points you choose are credible and realistic for the audience. Avoid stretching an example to fit your piont. Try to find a point that matches the message. Ginni ‘s message here was around leaders being “bold, open-minded and persuasive”. Perhaps it would have been better to find examples of individual leaders who took bold decisions in this tough times. Like for example, Steve Jobs saying we are going ahead with the iPod lauch even though the country and economy was in a state of shock. Getting a personal insight here would better match the point.


Having seen other presentations from Ginni, this one seemed just a little below her usual high standard in terms of the fluidity. At times it seemed like Ginni was trying to recall key messages and this made certain parts seem a little disjointed. But not so much to get in the way of her clear messaging.


A very well structured presentation with clear messages and energetic delivery. Ginni is a great presenter and you should certainly watch this video and her other presentations. This one was a little off-par in terms of smoothness but that it just a small quibble. If everyone presented in such an engaging and clear style, business presentations around the world would be so much better. A solid 8 out of 10.

About the Author

Warwick J Fahy

Warwick helps C-level executives, working in multinational companies based in Greater China, who struggle to get their point across and influence their key stakeholders. Warwick helps the executive project their message with confidence allowing them to express their opinions powerfully and gain respect from senior managers even when under pressure.Learn more about who Warwick helps here.

Warwick is the author of “The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world”.

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