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In today's work environment, simply fulfilling your job description isn't enough if you want to get ahead. So, how can you gain a competitive edge? One solution is to build your leadership profile by elevating your communications game. In this blogpost, you’ll find real-world steps you can take to get to the next level.
Legendary Coca-Cola CEO Roberto Goizueta once said, “communication is the one task you cannot delegate.” And whether we like it or not, it’s tough to be seen as a leader if you don’t sound like one. This post will identify 5 rookie presentation mistakes and offer you solutions for how to avoid them.
" Communication is the one task you cannot delegate. - Roberto Goizueta Former Coca-Cola CEO.
This is a big one. I put it first because if you were to stop reading right now and retained this one point, I’d be fine with that. That’s how important simplicity is. One of the great hallmarks of leadership communications is the ability to distill something complex into simple language that everyone understands. Being able to do this isn’t something you’re born with. It’s something you emulate, refine, and then own yourself.
How can we collaborate better to optimize synergies across functions to catalyze outcomes that are mutually beneficial to all concerned?
How can we work better together to achieve the results we want?
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When in doubt, say what you mean and mean what you say. Ask a family member or friend if they understand what you’re trying to communicate. If they can’t understand what you’re saying, change it so they can. This may mean losing jargon and acronyms.
MISTAKE NO .2 : Not Researching Your Audience
The composition of your audience will affect the composition of what you say and how you say it. Understanding your audience and what they care about is critical.
I’ve done a thousand of these. I’ll just wing it.
Remind yourself that every group is unique and that winning your audience over begins with preparation and not winging it.
Talk with the person organizing the meeting or event ahead of time to get a sense of who’s in the group and what their concerns are. Do some research and you’ll be doing yourself and your audience a favor.
MISTAKE NO. 3: Assuming your audience cares about your message.
As someone once said, people don’t listen to what you have to say, they listen for what’s in it for them. It’s just human nature. Continually look for ways to earn their focus, energy, and attention by making them care.
I’m here today to talk about "X".
You’re here today because you’re concerned about "X". I am, too.
Recognize when you’re favoring the pronoun “I” over the pronoun “you.” When possible and where it makes sense, test what your sentence would sound like if you began it with the pronoun, “you.” It won’t work every time but it’s a helpful mind shift to get you thinking away from yourself and toward your audience.
MISTAKE NO. 4: Relying on facts, figures, and data to persuade your audience.
You need facts, figures, and data to bolster credibility. But make sure you’re putting them in a context that people care about.
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There are 600 million people in India under the age of 25.
There are 600 million people in India under the age of 25. That’s about 2X the size of the U.S. population.
One of the best things you can do to punctuate a point (and this is especially true with data) is to challenge yourself to ask the question: so what?
MISTAKE NO. 5: Not including a call to action.
I began with a big point and I’ll close with one. If you want people to do something (buy your product, adopt your plan, consider a new perspective, hire your services…), you have to ask them. Often, it’s a step that’s so obvious or perhaps so scary that we simply forget to do it or don’t want to do it.
In conclusion, here are the 5 things I covered today. Are there any questions?
Today, I’m asking you not to do "X" but to do "Y" instead. It’s good for our group. It’s good for our enterprise. It’s good for your careers.
When thinking about your presentation and what you want to cover, begin by answering the following question: who’s your audience and what do you want them to do?
" In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy delivered his Inaugural Address, he included the now-iconic line, “ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” After that speech and with initiatives like the Peace Corps, there was a rush to public service that was unprecedented. Many said they had never considered public service until that day. When pressed as to why, they said “no one ever asked.” A young, newly -sworn-in president asked with a clear call to action and inspired a generation.
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They can each help with your business and your storytelling.