This podcast draws on the feedback of one of our principals, Michael Boricki who was a Big-3 principal and left the firm on the day after he was appointed director, to discuss the technique he used to not only fix a stuttering problem, but use the pain from fixing the problem to introduce broader, and much needed, flexibility in this communication techniques. This podcast looks at:

• Simple words which can be used to limit stuttering.

• How the use of hand movements can aid in adding structure to responses and destabilizing competitors in discussions/debates.

• How deliberately placing oneself into high-pressure situations to deliver impromptu speeches can introduce career flexibility and greatly allow you to respond to career opportunities.

Much of this advice is based on Michael’s own experiences. Therefore, there is no control for this advice. However, if you feel you have a similar profile to Michael then much off this advice will be very useful.

You can see the impact of these techniques by listening to Michael speak today: all of the podcasts are done by Michael and none of them have been planned. They are all done impromptu-style off memory.

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2 responses to How Michael fixed a stuttering problem

  1. Hi Davor,

    To your point, I will no longer feel bad if a banker cancels my meeting. I probably just changed the agenda.

    There is an easy way to think about this. Three people have taught me a good skill here. Kevin Coyne, Ian Davis and Dominic Barton are good to watch in general, in a meeting or unscripted presentation. First, they never ever engage anyone by creating the impression they are experts. They will make it very clear that they are not experts, even when they are experts, and will be more than happy to help you think through the solution.

    What this means is that in a meeting, a client will not expect the answer all prepared in a nice and pretty document, but expect to spend time with Ian etc thinking through the problem. And that is what they do, they take time in the meeting and facilitate this structured brainstorming where they bring the structure and you bring the content as the client.

    So two lessons here: do not promise the answer upfront, since the client is then expecting answers, but get the client comfortable with co-creating the answer and second, have the ability to do that.

    Getting the client comfortable to think together is very important. At a bank I think you will struggle here since banks like to create the impression they know everything and do not like generally hypothesizing. However, it can be done.

    Now, how do you actually do this facilitated brainstorming?

    It is going to take me a really long time to type out how to brainstorm, how to develop hypotheses from thin air (we call them trend driven hypotheses development), and how to develop hypotheses from just one data point which is relevant to a client.

    If you really want to learn this, you can watch the Consulting Offer, particularly Felix’s videos who was very good. candidate Though it is subscription based so only do it if you really want to learn this skill.

    I hope that helps.


  2. This is a very interesting podcast. I didn’t know about the trick to start a sentence with one syllable word (e.g. but).

    Strangely, at bulge bracket banks they always teach us to speak only if prepared or be quit in the meetings. There is no training on developing a skill to speak “spontaneously” on an unprepared topic. I witnessed many senior people actually cancelling their meetings if the meeting agenda suddenly got changed, that confirms your point on inflexibility with such approach.

    Learning to speak impromptu –
    You mentioned that you would think through but not make any notes few minues before speaking. Ok, but even for that if you are speaking on some unprepared topic, you still need to have some sort of preparation to be able to say something meaningful. How would you go about jotting out ideas (brainstorming) if you don’t know the topic very well at all?

    Thank you

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