But Can Satya Give a Great Speech?

nadellaUnless you’ve been literally hibernating, you know that the Microsoft board has chosen Satya Nadella to become the software giant’s new CEO.

To re-energize the mammoth company, Nadella is going to have to restore the confidence of Microsoft customers, employees, and investors. And to get that done, it will help a lot if he can give great speeches and presentations.

So…can he or can’t he? The final answer will come only after Nadella’s had the chance to work with speechwriters and presentation coaches, but early indications are…mixed.

The good news: if you look at his past speeches and presentations, he has a pretty lively presence (especially for an engineer). He doesn’t drone. He speaks clearly, with good pauses and emphasis in the right places. So good potential there.

The not so good news: he’s very devoted to statistics and jargon and doesn’t like to talk about human beings much (himself included.) It’s easy to find phrases like “topline growth was 2X,” “inflection point,” etc. It’s very hard to find any stories or drama.

I cut him some slack because he’s been the head of very technical divisions and his audiences have been pretty specialized. Still, he’ll have to work hard if he wants to be able to rally the troops.

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