Jim Endicott started his keynote with a video clip shown during the Presentation Summit 2008 — the video showed the conference host, Rick Altman as a candidate for the post of the US President. He suggested Rick could do it again for the upcoming 2012 election. Be it 2008, 2012, or even all the years that this conference has existed, Jim admitted that one of the important things of being in this conference for so many years is that you gain perspective. Over the years, the conversation in the conference has started to evolve beyond basic PowerPoint to advanced stuff and evolving presenting technologies. He then wondered if presenters are communicating better today? They may have these great visuals, but do they have something substantial to say?
Jim mentioned that “Life is a series of presentations“, much like the name of the book by Tony Jeary. When you are sitting one-on-one with an audience, that is indeed a presentation, even if you haven’t planned it before — or even if there are no slides.
Jim then mentioned that he would take the audience on a personal journey. He explored applications that effected almost any relation you have in your life. Jim reminded that if you lack outstanding skills, your careers can come to a screeching halt. He then provided examples of 3 business communicators:
- A senior product manager has to present to around 5 very senior people in the organization, and give them updates in just 15 minutes. His presentation deck contains 40 to 50 slides, and then executives ask him too many uncomfortable questions. He gets confused!
- A sales person is so excited, and he believes that his clients would be excited too — and then he hits a wall!
- A senior manager has been promoted, and he is brilliant. But in 2 weeks he has to give a keynote to 2500 people, and this will then be shown to a million people. Can someone help him?
So what does it take to be heard today. You need all of these:
- An illustrated story with visual aids
- A compelling story-line with a great message
- An enthusiastic business story-teller with personal communication skills
And you also need to observe differences in your audience members – specifically individuals within your audience. Each individual is different, and the way the approach, grasp, and assimilate information is different. These style differences in individuals pervade beyond our business lives — they invade our personal lives too. Jim then referred to well known US sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond — about an anecdote when different characters act and react differently to a situation.
Clearly there is a need for a tool to measure these differences — and in fact there are two of them:
- DiSC Observable Behaviors explores perceptions
- Myers Briggs Thinking & Behavior explores perceptions and also provides some insight
Jim explored DiSC behaviors for the rest of his session.
Identifying these styles is an important part of life, and how you react:
- D: Driver
- i: Influencer
- S: Steady
- C: Conscientious
Jim explained several ways in which you can identify your personal behavioral style — and also about how you can attempt to find out about other people’s behavioral styles.
He then suggested that everyone in the audience do this exercise with the person next to them:
Tell them what you believe you are
Tell them how do you like others to communicate information and ideas to you?
Tell them what a good day looks like to you?
Jim ended by exploring behavioral qualities of all four styles of people:
Be on time
Stick to business
Be ready to wrap up any time
Focus on results / impact
Minimize busy PowerPoint
Be prepared to back up claims
Be credible / confident
Provide eye contact
Relationship more important than task at hand
Allow time for interaction / discussion
Emphasize personal stories vs. facts
Be passionate and interesting
Provide testimonials and case studies
Buying you as much as your idea
Ask for their opinion
Provide assurances through change / performance guarantees
Honesty / integrity over anything else
More inclined to partner
Don’t force decision making
Strong need for consensus
Avoid overselling ideas
Don’t get too personal
Provide depth of tangible evidence
Don’t force decision making
Stress slows or stop the process
Provide time to discuss details
Guide follow-up scheduling