Presentation Skills Ladder, level-3
Where are you on the “Presentation Skills Ladder” (Part 3)
FOCUS LEVEL 3 – THEM (ACTION)
Leaders who want to release the true potential of their people, teams, projects and organisations come to a point where the focus of their presentations moves off themselves and the information they want to communicate, and moves onto the drivers of the people they are presenting to. They paint a picture of an inspiring future, and offer an opportunity to journey there together, leveraging the unique skills each
participant will bring. Like Joseph Campbells’ “Hero’s Journey” (and every movie with a Hobbit in it), you don’t know what challenges you are going to face, you just want a team who are prepared to face them together. If your presentations are not creating followers, who is it you are leading?
Information alone is rarely influential. In 1532, Copernicus mathematically proved that the Earth orbits the Sun. Schools kept teaching that the Earth was at the centre of the Universe. In 1632, Galileo provided even more information to back up the theory. Still no change. It took until Newton in 1688 (156 years after Copernicus) for the truth to be accepted. Facts, figures and authority do not influence people to change their beliefs (and therefore their behaviour). When you have responsibility for setting the course of an organisation (or part of it), you are also responsible for getting the crew to want to sail there. If you want to influence people’s thinking and behaviour, you have to do it from inside their heads – using their words, imagery, concerns and solutions. It is very difficult for someone to argue against an answer they came up with. The purpose of your presentation is to lead them there.
Effective leaders are not only able to have people agree that the direction they are heading is right, they are also able to have those people committed to getting there independently of the leader. In the Defence Force, if the Captain is wounded in battle, the Lieutenants and Sergeants don’t pack up and go back to base. They step up. They are committed to the outcome autonomously of the leader being there. The most effective presentations create clarity of the mission, commitment to the path, and accountability for the outcome. Once you have done this, people will follow the chosen path, whether you are there or not.
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