Situation: Controversial mining project in rural area. Executives and members of management team are increasingly called upon to be spokespeople in public meetings, at industry events, and with media.
Engagement Objective: To give members of the executive team the skills necessary to deliver informative and influential presentations, to handle Q&A with grace and ease, and to stay calm, positive and on point at all times.
Training Sessions: The sessions were a hybrid of Media Readiness™ Training and Presentation Skills Training, delivering the best of both to these quick-study high-performers. We covered the critical “parts of a speech” – elements of a presentation that keep it on track and succinct, for both speakers and audiences. We addressed managing Q&A, both in terms of philosophy and actual tactics. And then we went on-camera to deliver presentations and to practice fielding Q&A.
Result: Executives left the training feeling prepared and confident. The CEO noticed improved performances right away. The company is seeing more positive audience reactions and balanced media coverage.
Situation: Professional services firm. Talented, yet highly technical, staff. Competitive presentations are how they get new business. Regular update meetings are how they keep clients informed, happy, and hopefully coming back for more.
Engagement Objective: To empower staff at various levels, from partners to project managers, to be sales people for the firm by helping them articulate their vision and the value of their expertise, while taming the urge to download too much technical detail.
Training Sessions: Delivered in four parts over a few months, two groups of 20 participated in highly interactive training sessions that involved games, exercises, scenarios, individual and group work, as well as some teaching at the white board and lots of discussion. Everyone was trained in the SmartMouth methodology for developing an effective presentation and received the mobile app –“The SmartMouth Public Speaking Toolkit” – instead of traditional handouts. The core training sessions culminated in mock presentations by each participant, in which they received peer and professional feedback.
Result: Not only does everyone in the firm now have the same vocabulary for how to be more audience- or client-centric, but they now brainstorm and plan presentations and meetings that are more succinct, more compelling, and more memorable. More polished presenters. More business. Happier clients.
Situation: High-powered physicians. Clear focus on science. No time for non-medical training, no perceived need for coaching.
Engagement Objective: To work with hospital and medical school department heads to help shape their messaging so they are more compelling and relevant to their various audiences – including potential donors, recruits, and media.
Training Sessions: In small group sessions, we met in a conference room to review department messages and how to use them. Participants were given time to digest the messaging and latitude to put messages in their own words. Interestingly, certain key words were consistent from participant to participant. We watched news clips of other physician-spokespeople and learned from those that the use of too much information and/or jargon doesn’t make a point and can alienate audiences. The sessions culminated in participants going on camera, in a television studio, to make brief presentations and field Q&A, using their new insights. We watched instant replays, and each participant had opportunities for do-overs.
Result: The doctors were pleasantly surprised at how much they learned in a short period of time. Some reported adopting a whole new strategy for how they were planning to conduct recruiting calls, others had interactions with the media and felt much more comfortable, with performances that reflected their preparation and confidence.