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- Studs Terkel
No, seriously, nobody does. That’s why leadership quotes are a great way to gain credibility when you present! It adds a layer of profoundness and transcendence to the subject matter, and captures your audience's attention right from the start.
Finding the right quote can be a bit of a challenge though. But no worries, I’m here to help! I’ve compiled a list of great quotes that you can use for your presentations, divided into several use cases. I trust they’ll be of great use to you!
Without further ado, here they are:
“Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.”
“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.
— Michael E. Porter.
“In the old days, you could segment happily. You could put out one message to one segment of the audience, and one to another. That has now gone. You say something to one community and instantly, literally at a click, it’s available to everybody. What it means is that if you’re trying to craft a message, it’s very difficult.”
"Marketing is a contest for people's attention."
“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”
“Make a decision. It doesn’t have to be a wise decision or a perfect one. Just make one.”
“I’m in a business where there’s complete anarchy. You can’t control it – you can only react to it. The control that people traditionally had over their message is gone. Look at Wikileaks: you have to approach everything you write on the basis it’s going to be on the front page of the newspaper.”
“If your goal is anything but profitability - if it's to be big, or to grow fast, or to become a technology leader - you'll hit problems.”
Michael E. Porter.
“In the past … companies tried to minimize customer interaction. They didn’t want customers to talk back to them — that was overhead. Minimizing customer interaction is a very outdated model from a pre-social web world.”
Paul Adams, VP of Product at Intercom
“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.”
“The underlying principles of strategy are enduring, regardless of technology or the pace of change.”
Michael E. Porter.
"The problem with competition is that it takes away the requirement to set your own path, to invent your own method, to find a new way."
“Achievement is talent plus preparation”
Related Read: Presentation Ideas: A guide to an outstanding deck
"The common question that gets asked in business is, 'why?' That's a good question, but an equally valid question is, 'why not?' "
"A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts."
"Many leaders of big organizations, I think, don't believe that change is possible. But if you look at history, things do change, and if your business is static, you're likely to have issues."
"Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person - not just an employee - are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability."
Anne M. Mulcahy
“The best time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
— Brad D. Smith
"I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you're going to innovate."
"Employees are a company's greatest asset - they're your competitive advantage. You want to attract and retain the best; provide them with encouragement, stimulus, and make them feel that they are an integral part of the company's mission."
Anne M. Mulcahy
"If your customer base is aging with you, then eventually you are going to become obsolete or irrelevant. You need to be constantly figuring out who are your new customers and what are you doing to stay forever young."
"Lots of companies don't succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future."
"I learned how to be a learner. When you get in a job, the tendency is to say, 'I've got to know it. I've got to give direction to others. I'm in this job because I'm better and smarter.' I always took a different view, that the key was to identify the people who really knew and learn from them."
Anne M. Mulcahy
"You can focus on things that are barriers or you can focus on scaling the wall or redefining the problem."
"You don't learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over."
"We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It's our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better."
Related Read: How to introduce yourself before a presentation
My best advice here is not to go for conventional quotes, since your presentation needs to be super data-driven, and get to the point much quicker than the average pitch. The best quotes for startups are not inspirational, but the ones that hit you with a state of things straight up, using one or two big numbers. This gets your audience to do three things almost simultaneously:
Let me show you how this can be achieved with a few examples:
“Americans filled 4.3 billion prescriptions and doled out $374 billion on medicine in 2014”
Time Inc. (this is a real quote, btw)
This is a good example of a great opening line. Why? You don’t even know if that’s a big or small number compared to other countries, or if it’s higher or lower than the previous years, nor have you talked about what your product/service does (yet). It just makes you go: “Holy shit! that’s a lot of prescriptions, and a hell lot of money!” and so you want to hear more of it. It also hints the total addressable market, making it a great line from a potential investor standpoint.
Here’s another example:
“The average British woman spends £140,000 on hair and cosmetics in her lifetime”
Remember to always credit the author, and look for reliable sources to make your point unquestionable.
If you cannot find a quote like that try going for a question to the audience instead:
“How many of you had had to wait in line for hours at a Bank…”
“How many of you have struggled to find good (and free) wi-fi at the airport…”
These are obviously rhetorical questions, so don’t go counting raised hands or anything. Simply state your phrase, pause briefly, then move on.
“Good design is making something intelligible and memorable. Great design is making something memorable and meaningful.”
“There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW! Wow is the one to aim for.”
“The details are not the details. They make the design.
— Charles Eames
“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Any product that needs a manual to work is broken."
“The public is more familiar with bad design than good design. It is, in effect, conditioned to prefer bad design, because that is what it lives with. The new becomes threatening, the old reassuring.”
"Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep."
Don’t. Enough with tumblr and Pinterest with their thousands of half made up - half uncredited quotes. You know better than those easy words.
So there you have it! An epic set of curated quotes to awesomize your presentations and inspire your audience. Feel free to share with us your own favourite ones.
Also, in this article I give you great tips on how to design your quote slides!