A lesson from Nokia

On 12 November 2007—ten years ago to the day as I write this post—Forbes published its magazine featuring a story about Nokia on the cover.

Nokia on the cover of Forbes Magazine

Forbes asked the question, “Can anyone catch the cell phone king?”

The answer? Yes.

Apple caught them. Samsung caught them. Several others caught them. You can see the spectacular rise and fall of Nokia from 1992 to 2016, both in terms of the number of phones sold and the percentage of market share, at this link.

There are many reasons why Nokia lost its dominant position in the cell phone market. There is general consensus that these reasons include being too slow to move into the smartphone market and not responding quickly enough to the threats from competitors.

The story holds many lessons for companies. Business schools around the world use Nokia’s rise and fall as a case study. However, Nokia has an important lesson for individuals as well: Never stop learning; never stop growing; never stop innovating.

One of the best—and most important—ways in which we can learn, grow and innovate is to become better speakers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an audience of 1,000 or an audience of one. The people who can communicate their ideas in a manner that is clear, persuasive and memorable have a big advantage over those who cannot.

What are you doing to sharpen your public speaking skills? When was the last time you gave a speech or presentation? What can you do in the next hour, the next day, the next week and the next month to become a better speaker?

If you don’t think it’s important, go check your phone. What brand is it?


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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