“He’s bright. He’s a hard worker, but when he shows up in meetings he struggles to make a coherent point. This makes promotion difficult.”
This is a familiar concern from corporate leaders.We design programs to help an individual or team make measurable improvements. The speaker is happy, clients are happy, senior management is happy. . . .But sometimes you might have to delay because of scheduling or budget constraints. If that’s the case, don’t wait for our work to encourage your teams to present better.
Here are three approaches to help your colleagues, as well as the pros/cons of each:
Yes, it starts with you. As the leader, demonstrate the behaviors and skills you’d like your colleagues to emulate. Open with a compelling question or observation, start and end meetings on time, put devices away and listen to colleagues. Or maybe you want to wean your team off of text heavy slides and building decks so they can design engaging presentations. Replace or minimize the number of slides you use in your next delivery.
Advantages: You can build this into your regularly scheduled meetings, promoting best practices as part of your team culture.
Limitations: Some skills are not as easy to emulate, and some speakers might not know how far off their own presenting style is from that of their leader.
PROVIDE GUIDE + TEMPLATE
Give them a map. Create a one-pager to define your expectations. This might be a list of questions you want them to answer, a review process or three of your most important rules. For presentation design, provide templates with resources on images, icons, fonts, colors, pre-populated commonly used slides.
Advantages: Simple documentation makes it easier for colleagues to follow your lead and onboard new employees. Templates with a library of images and icons, for example, are the most effective way to extend your branding.
Limitations: Requires discipline to decide what’s most important. You’ll need a PPT enthusiast to take the lead on creating templates and go through the sometimes difficult task of finding consensus on core style issues (capitalization, left justify or center, bullets or sub-bullets).
TALK TO THEM
Have the awkward moment. Schedule a 1:1 to provide candid feedback on strengths and areas of development. Underscore why effective public speaking and presentation skills are central to their career advancement.
Advantages: Specific, direct feedback gives you an opportunity to discuss examples and you’re more likely to see immediate results.
Limitations: This is a more time-intensive approach. You both need time on the calendar, and the speaker needs a certain level of self-awareness or desire to improve to benefit from the exchange.
If you’d like to preview what our training involves, ask about our Pop Up Presentation Workshop. We give senior leaders a 90-minute session so that you can decide if it’s the right program for your team.