Give them a Wallop!

Sock it to them!

Sock it to them!

Getting cut short in your prime

You get in front of senior management, having prepared your 30 minute presentation, having practised your body language, eye contact and tricks to engage the audience.  You’re ready to go: all psyched up and beating with adrenalin.

OK.  That’s what you imagined.  One participant on my 2-day Knock Out Presentations course asked:

“What happens once in the Board Room when they’re running late, like they always do.  You’re 10 minutes from the end of the meeting and you’re asked to spit out your message there and then”

Here’s what you can do:

  • Tell them exactly what you want – but without the rationale you’re more likely to get refused;
  • Whizz through your slides, talking twice as fast.  You’ll sound like Mickey Mouse on amphetamines and they’ll take in nothing.
  • Chuck your handouts across the table – if you’re lucky they’ll go through them before forgetting about the contents. The worst scenario is that the pages will be made into paper planes flying towards the recycling bin.

 

Walloping the Board when you’ve little time

Instead, try this technique, ‘The Wallop, Down, Up, Please’ approach. Before I explain, I would love to take the credit for this but must, reluctantly, give this to Andy Bounds author of the ‘Snowball Effect, Communication Techniques to Make You Unstoppable’. My pride is dented but I hope to get Karma points for not saying it’s my own original invention…

Here we go:

1. Wallop – Give the impact of the situation, usually negative. This hits the ‘pain’ button, telling the audience the impact of not doing something;

2. Down – Make the situation worse (“And, as a result, this will also happen…”);

3. Up – Give the alternative that improves the situation;

4. Please – Now make your request

 

 

And an example:

1. Wallop – We’re spending £230,000 per month on X

2. Down – Even worse, the number will increase over the next couple of months. Projected needless waste will cost £2.8 million this year. This will increase to over £5.6 million in the next couple of years.

3. Up – We can reduce these costs by over 75% – that’s a potential saving of over £4 million – by implementing x (Spend 2-3 minutes explaining your proposal, using ‘What, Where, When, How)

4. Please – Given that successful implementation could deliver £4 million of savings, please can I ask you to Action X?

 

(Thanks, Andy, for your example. You may nick my model below for your next book).
A similar model is the PROEP, so you’ve got two tools you can use when they say “Sorry, but could you just give us a quick overview. We’ve run out of time.”

You can find the PROEP structure here.

What do you do when you need to get your point across quickly?

Got a request you want to wedge into this structure?

Let me know in the comments!

2 quick tips for productive meetings

Only too often, we sit in meetings, bored to tears by the tangential conversation, the conversation hoggers and the lack of relevance to the agreed agenda.

I’ve put together two magic tips you can use in your next meetings to save your time, increase engagement and maximise productivity.

How where you sit affects your influence…

I’d been speaking to some accountants who had a disastrous client meeting.

It turned out that it was all in the seating so I’ve made this quick video so you can see how to avoid conflict and steer actions through the simple mastery of the Four Positions for Influence in Meetings.

No choreography, Kama Sutra or Yoga. These positions are much quicker to learn and won’t break your back!

Happy watching!

What Beyonce knows about teleconferencing!

Doing a virtual presentation can feel like talking to air.  Here’s a situation you may recognise….

The Situation: most of the participants will not be in the room and some won’t see you. All, except two are in different continents.

The Challenge: to include everyone, ensure they maintain their attention and, no matter which medium they are using, they are involved with the whole conversation.

The solution: Do what so many others do: talk at the ones you can see and ignore the ones you can’t.

Result: Total waste of money and time.

OR use a few tips from a treasure chest of them, that I use in workshops on Knock Out Presentations and Pitches.

In preparation of the call:

1.  Ensure everyone has a list of who is who including names, roles and locations and contact information so that people can reach each other for further information after the call, if they need to.

2.  Decide who’s going to do what: facilitate, who will lead each section

3.  Have the participants meet up 30 minutes before the scheduled time to test the IT. In each room, where there’s a video conference, have one person responsible for making the IT work and a back up plan if it doesn’t.

4.  Consider participant availability just as you would for any other meeting.

5.  Take into account time zones when scheduling – the Malaysians may be less participative when you speak to them from London at 2:00pm GMT as they’re beating for the door – it’s 7pm but the New Yorkers have had they’re coffee and they’re all go. This will mean you’ll probably need to stimulate more participation from your eastern callers and just when you’re on your post-lunch slump, you’ll need to keep the energy up for those to the West of you.

6.  Communicate local time or how to calculate local time when sending meeting announcement.

7. Distribute supporting documents/files well before the call start.

8. Inform participants if they have to have a file or website open on their computer desktop.

9. Record the call. For those who can’t make the meeting simply record the call and share the audio file.

During the call: Keep it personal (Beyonce’s already said it…’Say ma name, say ma name…)

1.  Review and, if needed, adjust agenda.

2. Find out if there are any individual time constraints (“I have to leave early”) and adjust accordingly. This is particularly important if you need the input or participation of the person leaving early to achieve the goals of the call.

3. Have a round of greetings: this way you’ll start to familiarise yourself with whose name belongs to which voice.

4. If someone’s joining the call later, the earlier arrivals need to introduce themselves to this latter one. If that was you joining later you’d want to know who you’re talking to.

5. ‘Say my name, say my name’, as the song goes…actually, say your own name before you speak. saymynameOne of the reasons why your audience may go silent when you ask their thoughts on what you’ve just said, is that they’re not sure who the voice belongs to and they don’t want to wrong foot themselves. The best way to achieve this habit in a teleconference is just to announce it as ‘How about if were to say our names before we speak each time, just to distinguish the speaker?’ Leaving it to tacit agreement in some groups is like trying to travel to the moon on a scooter: it just won’t happen.

6. Help less engaged people become more involved in the call e.g. use phrases like:

a) How do you see this, xxxx?

b) What’s your experience of this, xxxx?

c) Does this sound like what you’re looking for, xxxx?

d) Would you like to add anything to this, xxxx?

7. Be enthusiastic and use a tone appropriate to the group. The first impression is important.

8. Vary voice tone – avoid monotone presentation.

After the Call: Have a plan that leads to action (not another meeting)

1. For Action steps, remember to state who does what by when.

With virtual calls so much the norm in companies these days, using the format above will mean that you have more productive use of time, better decision making and more possibility to use other virtual interactive tools effectively as your participants will already feel more involved in the process.

What irritates you in virtual conferencing?  Let us know below…

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Close up and Personal

If you think you’re better with face to face training, Switch Vision can run courses for you – whether as a one to one or in a group. Communication and Transformational Creativity for Technical Experts combining the best in Performance and Business.   Call me to discuss your needs on +44 (0) 20 7183 4300 or drop me a line here

 

 

Could you change your mind, please?

“These conversation are driving me nuts:  we ‘ve got major business opportunities in France and Turkey and no-there to to get it going.  I speak Spanish, Turkish and French but my boss only wants to send me to Spanish speaking countries,” remarked Liz.

“What’s his reasoning?” I enquire.

“Wants me to concentrate on Spain. That’s as much as I get from him.  I wouldn’t care, but all the other projects are now being managed by someone else.  It’s just so frustrating.  Boring, in fact.  There’s no sense in it.”

So how can Liz break through such resistance?

According to a survey of Fortune 500 executives, resistance is the primary reason that changes fail in organizations. In a similar survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting, 80 percent of the CIOs surveyed said that resistance was the main reason why technology projects failed. Not lack of skill or resources, but that soft touchy-feely human reaction of resistance.                                                  
Is meeting resistance with resistance the answer?

Is meeting resistance with resistance the answer?

This resistance can be grouped into three levels:

Level 1 – Based on Lack of Information

This is low-grade resistance where there is no hidden agenda. People are opposed to the idea for any number of reasons: lack of information, disagreement with the idea itself, lack of exposure, or confusion.

What this could mean for Liz: Maybe Liz’s boss doesn’t have enough information about the opportunities in these other countries.

Level 2 – Based on personality and vested interests

Level 2 is an emotional reaction to the change. Even given the right information, vested interests or dislike can be difficult to shift.

What this could mean for Liz: does the boss feel that Liz’s progression could undermine him? Does he just dislike her and would rather give the opportunity to someone else?

Level 3 – Based on Environmental issues

This level concerns external factors such as the economy, the company structure, process, climate.

What this could mean for Liz: the economy doesn’t bode well for development in certain areas. 

None of these levels are insurmountable.  Not even Level 2, where there’s a personality clash.  There are four channels of influence that work independently or in combinations.  These channels are:

1. Direct Influence:

You have direct contact with the person you’re influencing

What to be aware of: how assertive you have to be will depend on the characters and contexts involved. Body language, facial expression, intonation and verbal language will have an impact on how your message is received.

2. Indirect Influence:

Here, the influence is through someone else.

What to be aware of:  who has the ear and trust of the person you’re influencing? Can you trust them? You don’t want your messages twisted by anyone else.

3. Syndicated Influence:

This is similar to Indirect Influence, except you have different people/groups affecting the decisions.

Ensure they’re all giving the same message, even if it’s in different ways.

4. Collaborative Influence:

You team up with others to get the message from different angles.

Again, trust is an issue here. You want to make sure the person with whom you’re collaborating is genuinely supportive of your message.  If they’ve a different approach from you, that could well work in your favour: the different packaging of the point could cause the penny to drop.

5. Remote Influence:

You need do nothing.  The situation changes because of external factors that impact on the actions of others.

The proof of the pudding is in the…seeing. When environmental changes become obvious, you need say nothing.  The press, the demise or rise of a project, the fact that a product is flying off the shelves are all tools for influence.  

Don’t expect influence to be an axe through the wall though: it could happen in a minute or over days, weeks, months or years (political movements being an example, or getting someone to make up their mind…)

Comment below to let me know or email me at alison@switchvision.co.uk

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Close up and Personal

If you think you’re better with face to face training, Switchvision can run courses for you – whether as a one to one or in a group. Communication and Transformational Creativity for Technical Experts combining the best in Performance and Business. ‘Be seen, be heard, be understood’

 

Another Bloody Meeting?

Another Bloody Meeting!

‘The convergence of alternative methodologies through blue-sky thinking should leverage business action-items for robust solutions.’

or, in other words…

Take a look at these ideas to make your meetings more productive…..

 

1)         Changing Places

If you have regular meetings with the same group of people, have you noticed where they sit?  Do they have the same seat every meeting, which they hold on to for dear life: I call this ‘The Three Bears Syndrome’ (Who’s sitting in MY seat!)

The problem with this, is that it also means that the mindset of individuals will be unlikely to alter. So, if you’ve quieter people in the group, swapping seating can help to balance out contributions.

Think back to meetings, where there’s little movement in the room: as soon as you change your posture or position around the table, you’ll also be thinking more freely.  If there’s a possibility to agree to do this as a group, even better.

2)         Anchor it

Many meetings would have agendas handed out beforehand but copy the contents on to a larger flip chart.  Now, when someone interrupts with an unrelated matter do this:

a)    Walk over to the flip chart, point to the matter you’re discussing and say ‘How is this issue related to the one here?’

b)    The speaker will then rephrase so that they connect the two or will retract.  You can always ‘Park’ it (see below).

c)    The next time, someone intervenes with an issue that might not be pertinent, walk over to the flip chart again, and ask the same question.

d)    After about 3 repeats, you’ll find that as soon as you lift the pen and look at the chart, they’ll automatically be prompted to reconsider statements to fit in with the agenda.

3)         Use Parking Places

This is immensely useful for when you think the meeting is being side-railed.  It’s simply a flip chart with issues, questions or comments that you need to come back to.  You’ll less likely to have A Monopoliser taking over the discussion, if they think you’ll get back to them.  These might be the basis of ‘Any Other Business’ or meetings that are best on a one-to-one.

4)        Decide on your feet

Meetings where people stand up, are shorter than those when all parties are sitting.   On average, standing meetings last for 10 minutes.  Sitting ones last – well gawd knows – the mug with the stop watch fell asleep before it finished.

One Accountancy practice for which I worked had a table that was waist-height and no chairs in their meeting room.  Meetings were short and succinct.  The fact that people can move easier around the table means that status games around the table are dissolved and decisions made more cohesively.  You may still want chairs, but round tables also help in more participative discussions and having people refer to decisions or process pinned onto flip charts hanging off the wall, means that participants will be more animated and the meeting will have greater energy.

The result:  everyone’s on the same page, and can, therefore, make a decision – other than when the next meeting should be…

We’re gonna be out there bumpin’ and thumpin’
(Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer on launch plans for Windows Vista)

and lastly…There might still be misunderstandings but they’ll be less likely to happen if you speak plain English!!!