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Focus on these things to succeed in Workplace Communication Skills

How to Achieve Audience Buy-In: Sell It!


{#/pub/images/HowtoAchieveAudienceBuyIn.jpg}Have you ever tried to pitch an idea? In public speaking we are often times trying to sell something, sell change, sell innovation... 


Noteworthy speakers are able to engage the audience, inspire, and have a successful call to action. The challenge is how? When you're proposing a new model or process you don’t want to spend time outlining the steps that will be taken in your new world; for that you could put together a job aide or process map, hand it out, and take a seat. You're giving a presentation because you believe in an idea, and the goal is to have a room full of believers when you sit down. Forget pitching steps, paint a picture of what will be created by your process enhancement or new model for success.


Let's walk through a hypothetical scenario... Imagine your department creates toy cars, and the expectation is that an employee produces 50 toys a day. Each employee follows the same process:


Step 1: collect required materials

Step 2: collect required tools

Step 3: assemble cars at work station


Your presentation is about a process enhancement to merge steps 1 & 2 and save 30 seconds per unit. That's 25 minutes per day, over 2 hours per week, approximately 14 full work days per employee per year. What senior leader wouldn't want to hear that idea??? But then comes the hook - You pause, look at your audience and ask the question, "Do you want to know what the real value of this process improvement is?" Pause again, (this time extended) with a confident stance and deliberate eye contact, and now you have them salivating. With passion you take this presentation to the next level. 


"This process improvement can be pitched to the work force; who typically feels as though they are driven to improve production without the tools to meet that expectation. Through implementation of this new process leadership has the opportunity to demonstrate a willingness to acknowledge challenges, remove obstacles, and partner for improvement. The impact on company morale will be unprecedented..." 


Forget talking about the new steps, your audience needs to be inspired by the perspective change. Your speech can take off from here!


If your idea has a financial impact, tell them, and then talk about the success that could be recognized with the additional resources. If your idea will remove an unfavorable task, tell them, and then talk about the increased morale. If your idea will result in a lean process that eliminates waste, tell them, and then talk about the gained efficiencies. Spend less time discussing the how to, and more time celebrating the what if!


{#/pub/images/HowtoAchieveAudienceBuyInSellIt.jpg}Written by Member Contributor: Kurt Webber, Manager, Customer Finance @kurtwebber


At ManagingAmericans.com our members are just as passionate about the contributions they make within their own organizations as they are about their own professional development.


In many cases, those contributions help others succeed on their teams, or help the organization succeed as a whole. In this case, Kurt Webber is on a mission to help others in his organization improve their effectiveness as presenters, with a collective goal to improve moral and inspire people to change. His approach is working throughout his company and we think it can work in yours as well. Below is my discussion with Kurt on how his contribution came about:


Q: Your advice on giving impactful presentations clearly shows a real passion for the impact that a defined "value connection" can have on the audience.  How do you use this approach within your company? 


A: I’ve been fortunate in my company to have the opportunity to lead a series of workshops developing and enhancing presentation skills. One of our sessions illustrates the value of focusing on possibilities... or the what if. Pitching the workshop itself gave me the opportunity to put the concept into practice. When selling the class to Leadership I talked with passion about the experience that would be gained, the networking opportunities, and the idea sharing that would result. Getting Leadership buy-in was essential in giving the program the credibility and momentum needed to move forward.


Q: How has this presentation style impacted your organization? 


A: This presentation style has impacted the organization by allowing for improved communication that resulted in a motivated workforce moving towards progress. Change is often times met with resistance, but we all know progress was never realized without it.  My team has introduced a number of process enhancements over the years, and selling the desired results allows for the passion to be contagious. We believe in, and are often excited about the streamlined process, or the centralized location, or the improved product to the customer; and when we’re done our partners believe too.




Interview by Lisa WoodsPresident & CEO ManagingAmericans.com Lisa is a dynamic business leader & author, successful entrepreneur & world-class marketing strategist with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth in the corporate world. Today she provides Management & Leadership Training and Organizational Discovery Tools to help businesses succeed. Lisa utilizes her experience with integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and strategic revitalization to help business leaders drive growth. Closing the gap between strategy and hierarchy through the use of effective communication skills, Lisa's techniques successfully align objectives, engage people & link strategy to execution.


Do you have a question for Lisa?  Post it in our Executive Leadership Community, she will be happy to help: Ask an Expert



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Do you emphasize your own opinions when you give presentations at work?