Latest "speaking up at meetings" Posts
Virtual Presentation Skills:
Connect With Your Next Remote Audience
Did you know that to be successful, virtual presentations require different tactics than in-person meetings do? That’s because it’s much harder to tell whether or not your audience is truly engaged when you can’t see them.
Let me share a cautionary tale. An insurance exec I know – Pete — was quite confident in his webinar delivery skills – even to the point of arrogance. He often bragged about his virtual facilitation skills to colleagues and supervisors alike. “Webinars? Piece of cake. Everyone loves my webinars.”
I was observing Pete facilitating one of his regular weekly WebEx team meeting when we heard a beep-boop-beep on the line: the sound of a phone being dialed. When he asked who was making that sound, he was met with silence.
You’re giving an important presentation to audience members who might not be entirely sympathetic.
Maybe it’s delivering news of downsizing, or a reduction in hours. Maybe it’s sharing bad sales statistics. Or, maybe it’s trying to sell an idea for change that’s not popular.
Whatever the message, the people staring back at you from the seats probably don’t know who you are.
They are a captive audience, compelled to attend your talk by company policy or their managers, whether they like it or not.
You already know they are not inclined to think about the issue or idea you’re presenting the same way that you do. So, now what?
If your goal is to open or even change their minds — to persuade, to get them to take the action you need them to take or see the issue in a more favorable light — what are your options?
It was with great interest that I recently read a Harvard Business Review article from June 2013 called “How to Give a Killer Presentation,” written by Chris Anderson, the curator of TED Talks.
The article drove home the point that effective presentation skills can make or break a speaker — no matter what industry or his or her level.
Anderson first tells the story of a painfully shy 12-year-old Masai boy from Kenya with very limited English, who had such an amazing story to tell that he was invited to give a TED talk. He was coached how to do so successfully. When the boy finally gave his talk one year later to a packed house of 14,000 people (probably all native English speakers at that), the audience hung on every word and leapt to their feet with a standing ovation at the end.
In my last blog post, I discussed conflict resolution in the workplace. You need to be assertive to succeed at managing conflict.
This skillset is particularly important if you are in conflict with someone who has a very strong or aggressive personality.
Assertiveness is a phenomenal skill to learn. The ability to be assertive — even with your manager or other higher level colleague – will give you the confidence to ask for what you need in all types of situations.
The trait of assertiveness has long been confused with aggressiveness, but they are coming from very different places. Aggressiveness comes from a place of fear, insecurity, and the belief that one must push others around to get what is needed.
Assertiveness, on the other hand, is based on healthy self-esteem and believing not just in your rights, but also those of others.
Presentations to senior management can be a vital part of moving ahead in your career, a true make-or-break-it moment.
These nerve-wracking opportunities remind me of one of my favorite quotes from former President John F. Kennedy:
“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” ~John F. Kennedy
Indeed, presenting to senior management presents both danger and opportunity. I suspect you are already well aware of the danger, so let’s talk instead about how to make the most of this potentially career-building opportunity.
Presenting to senior management is different than presenting to your team, your department, or your local PTA or other community organization.
Here are six important things to remember when presenting to senior management: