Keynote speech: Network to Win!

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Recently, I gave the opening keynote at the 38th annual global conference of international accounting network Kreston International. Below are the slides for my presentation. Note that they are intended to accompany my speech, not to be meaningful in themselves.

Kreston are a very interesting organization. With revenues across the network of over $2 billion, they are the 13th largest accounting network in the world. The day of the conference they made the final step in becoming a network according to the IFAC (International Federation of Accountants) definition of a network. One of the critical issues in determining whether a group of firms is deemed a network is whether they have common quality controls. The appointment of a Global Quality and Professional Standards Director is a key step Kreston has taken.

I have long been fascinated by professional services networks. I wrote about them in my first book Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships, and in detail in Chapter 9 of Living Networks.

I am actively continuing to explore the nature of networks in professional services. How well they network very simply determines their success. As such I was delighted to be invited to do the opening keynote on the conference’s theme of Network to Win. It took the format of a participatory workshop run over two 45 minute sessions, getting the attendees to reflect on and discuss how they can best enhance the cross-firm networks that drive results.

Reputation measurement in professional services

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Recently, I gave the opening keynote at the AMP Hillross annual convention, with the title of Embracing the Future.

Hillross, one of the most upmarket of the wealth management networks, is seeking to lead the rest of the market by shifting to a pure fee-for-advice model, and rapidly developing a true professional culture. My keynote was designed to bring home the necessity of individual and firm leadership at this key juncture in industry structure.

One of the central themes of my presentation was the increasing importance of reputation for professionals. I wrote about this critical idea on his blog:

Clearly reputation has always been critical for any professional, and there are some parts of professional services markets where reputation is already highly visible, such as prominent M&A lawyers, who are identified by numerous client surveys. While clients of other professional services (for example audit or management consulting) tend to be more focused on engaging firms rather than individuals, there is a fundamental shift from corporate to individual reputation under way.

What is changing is the extraordinary visibility of people’s actions and character and how others perceive them. One of the most valuable functions of the emerging ‘global brain’ that connects our insights is to make reputation more visible. For over a decade people have talked about how the internet is lowering transaction costs. Still today, the biggest single cost of business transactions is assessing the reputation of your potential business partner. Easier assessment of the reputation of suppliers will have a significant impact on the global economy.

Many professionals will be greatly impacted by these shifts. The search for professional advice is often still highly unstructured, based on anecdotal recommendations or simple searches. As importantly, clients of large professional firms may start to be more selective on who they wish to work with at the firm, creating a more streamlined meritocracy.

The mechanisms for measuring professional reputation are still very crude, yet over the coming decade we can expect to see substantial changes in how professionals are found. This will impact many facets of the industry.

The power of social media and future organizations

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This morning I am giving the external keynote at a closed conference for senior client executives run by a major professional services firm. They know the technical content they are presenting is rather dry so my role is to provide a highly engaging kick-off to the day (spouses are invited too) which is also practical and useful for attendees.

As is quite often the case these days, my client asked me to combine two of the topics from my general list of speaking topics, bringing together the ideas from The Power of Social Media and The Future of Work and Organizations. In fact every presentation I do is customized for the specific context and audience, including many topics not on the list, but it can be useful for clients to use the general speaking topic list to work out what they are looking for.

Here are the slides to my keynote. The usual disclaimer: the slides are designed to accompany my presentation and not to be viewed by themselves, but you still might find them interesting.

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5 things to tweet and 5 things not to tweet – Twitter expert Ross Dawson

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Recently Twitter expert and keynote speaker Ross Dawson spoke at a financial advisor retreat in the stunning Margaret River region of Western Australia, a region of wide-open beauty that is the source of many extraordinary wines.

He gave two compelling keynotes at the event on subsequent days, on How to Lock-in Your Clients, and Success in a Connected World, which drew on his connected world visual framework.

Following is a brief excerpt of what Dawson presented in his keynote speech on how to approach Twitter

WHAT TO TWEET ON TWITTER

* Interesting, current links with useful descriptions. The most valuable tweets usually point to fantastic content, with sufficient description for people to know why they should click on it.

* Links to your own content. People like links to content created by the Twitter account owner, which is why they follow them.

* Stimulating questions. People find value in interesting and provocative questions, whether or not they respond on Twitter.

* Occasional unusual or humorous posts. It is good to break up the flow of a Twitter account with funny or different posts, rather than have it be too consistent.

* Responses to others. Twitter is a conversation, so it is important to respond to others, and these can be among the most interesting and informative posts.

WHAT NOT TO TWEET ON TWITTER

* Content-free statements. Don’t say things like hello and goodbye, or other interjections that contain no content and add no value.

* Excessive personal updates. Unless your Twitter circle is only close friends, don’t just tweet your day-by-day activities. It is good to share of yourself and the notable things that you experience, just don’t overdo it.

* Negative thoughts. If you’re feeling down, it’s usually better to keep it to yourself. People are attracted to positive attitudes rather than negative ones. Of course, if you do want to reach for connection at a time of need, Twitter can be invaluable.

* Extended conversations with individuals. Anything much more than a couple of to-and-fro tweets is stultifying to everyone else. Move to direct messages or email.

* Old news. Don’t share things that everyone has already seen. If you’ve seen something on the TV news, be sure that everyone on Twitter knew about it a long time ago.

Every keynote speech by twitter expert and keynote speaker Ross Dawson is fully customized to the client and the audience. Energize your event with his inspirational presentations that leave audiences with valuable and actionable insights.

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Energize your event with Twitter expert Ross Dawson’s compelling and inspirational presentations that leave audiences stimulated. Contact Ross Dawson’s office today to discuss the precise keynote topic and title that will best meet your requirements.