Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Best Banking Presentation Ever - Part I

Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you can make a speech about banking fun, you can change the world.”

Okay, I’m not 100% sure that Ben actually said that, but the words are a truism as far as I’m concerned.

Case in point. Last week I attended a shareholders meeting for a newly formed bank in St. Louis called Champion Bancshares ( While the bank is off to an amazing start with the 2nd largest capitalization in Missouri banking history, I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to the officers’ speeches with all the numbers and spreadsheets and details and whatnot. I, like most people, find the choice between a banking presentation and a root canal to be a toss up.

Was I ever wrong.

The first speaker of the night was Kirk Briden, the bank president, and this guy immediately grabbed the audience’s attention by flashing a picture on the screen of a group of 15 geeky looking 20-somethings from what appeared to be the late 1970s. Everyone laughed. This group was an odd sort to say the least. Kirk then asked the audience, “Would you have invested in this group of people?” More snickers and laughs.

He continued, “Well, you would have been wise to do so because these are the founding members of Microsoft.” Stunned silence followed. “My team and I are certainly glad that you all decided to invest in out bank…”

He then quoted 19th century architect Daniel Burnham who was instrumental in Chicago’s urban planning after the Great Fire of 1871. Burnham said,
“Make no small plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably
themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work
remembering that a noble, logical plan once recorded will never die.”
This quote summarized the bank’s approach to business. Make no small plans. Aim high. Powerful stuff.

After this Kirk proceeded to discuss the “state of the bank,” what lay ahead and what was in store for the rest of the meeting. This part of the speech could have been a cure for insomnia, but Kirk used several analogies from Alexander the Great vanquishing superior armies to the last year’s surprising World Series victory by the 83-win St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals analogy was brilliant because he used it to reassure his investors that while things were going very well, the bank had experienced a few bumps along the way. He noted that the 2006 Cardinals won baseball’s top honor, but they also endured two 8-game losing streaks and committed their share of errors. In other words, he reminded his audience to keep their eyes on the prize and that any worthwhile venture will suffer minor glitches along the way.

Again, this was a banking presentation. Kirk had the crowd of 150+ engaged and interested in what he had to say. What a terrific way to get the evening rolling.

To hear about the other speakers, tune in tomorrow.

Time to Hit Your Stride

Your Turn #1: How can you use quotes, stories and pictures to make your next presentation meaningful and memorable?

Your Turn #2: What “big plans” are you making? Are your goals lofty enough? How can your next speech “stir the blood” of your audience?

Happy speaking,

Steve Hughes
Speaker - Trainer - Utility Infielder

1 comment:

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