By Kevin Lerner
Experience and Age Makes a Difference
Youth is wasted on the young.
So said the author George Bernard Shaw. When I was in my 20s and just starting my career, I often felt that people didn’t take me seriously, despite my skills and talents. The corporate culture, and managers and executives, often filled me with a sense of intimidation and awkwardness.
However, as I’ve grown, I’ve become far more comfortable around managers and executives, enabling me to connect deeper and better understand their presentation goals and objectives. Additionally, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found people take me more seriously in the workplace, enabling me to work more effectively and in partnership with managers of all levels. Indeed, this unconscious bias that upper management has against younger people often dissipates as they mature and evolve professionally.
To anyone in their 20s who feels awkward and uncomfortable working around upper management, it’s likely that over time, they’ll feel more confident working with senior management on their presentations…and not just being a yes-person, but giving true compelling insights and strategies.
By looking at a top executive in your organization as just another colleague or a friend, you can approach the management of your presentation project from a comfortable peer-to-peer perspective, reducing intimidation and awkwardness which will deliver a final product on-time and to everyone’s satisfaction.
One reason that projects drag behind is simply because of human chemistry. People simply don’t like working with someone who’s annoying, negative, or slow. To that point, if you’re working to design someone’s presentation, aim to be fun and upbeat, making the presentation process as enjoyable and efficient as possible.
Transform what might be a stressful and arduous working process into an enjoyable and productive working session. Create a creative ambiance. Smile. Relax. Fill your work-space with photos, books, and elements of creative inspiration. They might be a negative slug, but try not to let it affect you. Let your positive and creative attitude be infectious to the point where the executive will look forward to working with you and will easily give you all you need to craft their presentation.
Rest. Recharge. Repeat.
At the end of the project, take a deep breath and smile. It’s over…for now. Take a day off and rest and recharge.
Soon after, send a followup note of thanks or a small gift- even if it’s someone who’s challenging to work with- along with a short questionnaire to measure the success of the project. Perhaps you can schedule a post-mortem meeting and gain feedback from your colleagues and executives about the presentations. What worked? What can we do better next time?
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube says,
Work smart. Get things done. No nonsense. Move fast.
Applying this approach and the other strategies with your executives and their presentations will translate to long lasting success and satisfaction for everyone.
Since founding The Presentation Team in the 1990’s, Kevin has developed thousands of presentations for clients including Motorola, Comcast Cable, Office Depot, Citrix, Oracle, Johnson & Johnson, NASA, the U.S. Army, The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), as well as numerous smaller companies, professional speakers, and individuals.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.