Executive Presence and Presentation Skills
Hacking Presentation Technique for Companies White Paper
The Agile suite of software development methodologies teaches us what we have always known: working face-to-face makes people more effective. Whether working together on a project or a new business initiative, working face-to-face:
Helps employees bond
Enhances everyone's commitment and sense of obligation
So it comes as no surprise that among the top personal qualities that employers are looking when hiring is the abilty to verbally communicate. The abilty to communicate well.
According to Walter Isaacson, in his book The Innovators, innovation requires articulation. The most effective way to communicate quickly and broadly throughout an organization is a group presentation. The ability to stand and deliver a great presentation to a group is one of the most important skills you can have in business. It is important not only to your own personal success, but to the success of your project, your team, and even your company.
But in Business We Have a Problem
A few executives in the company may be good at delivering a presentation (and often could be better), but too many are clueless or simply terrified.
We tend to feel sympathy and even empathize with those struggling to give a presentation. But we think of it as an indiviual problem. It is not. It is a company problem.
Who really suffers through bad presentations? The hapless presenter? Or is it the 15-20 managers wasting their time sitting through yet another disappointing presentation? Suffering weak presentations throughout an organization day-in and day-out, can cost a mid-sized company or division over $1MM a year when taking into account executive time, the resources expended, the misinformation and misdirection propagated, the resulting poor workflow creation, and then the need to do it all over again. One Fortune 100 company estimated that its senior executive team would save well over $7 MM a year by applying better presentation techniques.
What's the problem? Why are so many managers so bad at giving business presentations? Why is poor internal communication more often the rule in a company than great performances? If you do a random search on Google, you will find plenty of information available on "how to give a great business presentation," and many (skilled) presentation coaches willing to offer help. Why is that not sufficient?
There are several problems.
Coaching without Training. The emphasis of most alternative solutions is on coaching not training. The "Top Ten Tips for Giving Presentations" is only of limited value when you don't know what game you are playing or how to play the game.
Mixing Up The Components. The top tips often confuse the Message, the Media, the Messenger, and the Managers (the audience). Tips give you a grab bag of separate and distinct things you are expected to remember to do all at the same time.
Theory and Technique are Ignored. Most available advice focuses on what you should be doing. Very little is offered in terms of why you need to do them and just how you should actually do those things. If you understand why something is important and how you can do it, it becomes a lot easier to do it.
Elitism. The problem for most companies is that help is reserved for only the select few who are plucked from the ranks to participate in a management development program. These are often the ones who need help the least and it loses sight of the fact that it is not only those who are selected for a management development program that are called on to give presentations in a company. ALL managers are called to give presentations.
The solution is to provide comprehensive basic training in the principles of live performance. Rather than scattershot coaching, a classical approach to presentation training leverages a theory and conceptual framework for how to think about and create a business presentation, followed by practical techniques and an applied performance-based method for delivering your presentation. The classic solution can be taught, learned and perfected through the regular application of a defined method.
Hacking Presentation Technique introduces your employees to the core principles of live performance in three 90 minute modules, taught on-site in a Master Class environment. Employees learn a systematic step-by-step approach to understanding what needs to happen in a business presentation and how to make it happen.The method demonstrates how the principles of live performance are relevant to everyone at every level of the organization and are easily accessible to all. Participants have the chance to get up on their feet and exerperience actual audience engagement and applied presentation technique in a series of exercises and real time coaching practices that are as enjoyable as they are practical. The Master Class setting is the ideal learning environment because it is effecient, scalable, and so easily replicates the one-to-many business presentation environment.
The method and business model are scalable. The program is supported by useful apps and adaptable to allow an organization to "train the trainer" and offer the program to as many employees in the organization as it may choose:
On an ad hoc basis
In an employee development program
A a part of on-boarding all new employees.
The one-to-many training approach means the largest number of employees can benefit and great presentations can become a part of your company culture.
Companies too often mistake small material benefits like free pizza and Foosball tables for culture. They will often spend money on such incidental amenities in a quick and easy attempt to build moral and loyalty, but are less likely to spend even modest amounts of money on training that can provide immediate and longer lasting benefits to employees and the company. Hacking Presentation Technique is money better spent.
Give your employees the training they want. When the program is offered in a business setting it is typically oversubscribed. Give your employees training they can use. These are skills they will start using immediately: from staff meetings to industry conferences, almost all employees are called upon to give presentations of varying lengths and importance and most want to do the best job they possibly can. Give your employees training that saves the company money.
Too many companies fail in their attempt to execute their business strategy due to poor internal communication. The cost can be immeasurable. Instituting successful presentations can have a direct impact on your bottom line.
And finally, this training can improve your company culture. Over 60% of employees surveyed would rather see more/better in-person communication in their company than an increased reliance on the use of technology. The clear majority prefer to learn important information about their company in-person. Over 80% would rather attend a presentation in person than receive a copy of the presentation in printed form (though less than 30% of them rate the quality of the presentations in their compnay as Good or Excellent). We can do better than this.
Let your company be a company that can say, "One thing we do here is communicate really well." That will do far more for company moral, productivity, and retention than pizza.