Eight years ago on a snowy day, I met with Nancy, a director of a government agency. Driving to the meeting, I received a phone call from Tonya, Nancy’s administrative assistant. Tonya wanted to let me know that it would not be an easy meeting. Three change management consultants like myself had already met with Nancy and she didn’t like any of them.
Interesting, I thought. I had no idea what to do with this information. Should I recite a list of my credentials? Turn around? Stop and pick up a shield and armor and slip it in my briefcase? Where do they sell shields and armor locally?
When I arrived, Nancy was quite considerate and provided an avalanche of background. She talked about low motivation, lack of trust, and lack of vision.
When Nancy finished, I asked, “How are you contributing to these problems and this culture?” Nancy sat back, looked at me with curiosity and said in earnest, “I don’t know.” A few seconds later she added, “No one has ever asked me that.”
Then she repeated under her breath, “No one has ever asked me that.”
We are all co-creators in every situation we are in. When we receive criticism, we have either done something to show arrogance or spend too much time with critics. When we receive anger, we have either done something provocative or we allow anger to whirl around unchecked. When we receive ongoing anger or criticism, we must ask ourselves, “How and when will I change my environment (the people I spend time with), or will I change my reaction?”
When people are kind and respectful of us, it is because we project kindness and self-respect.
What situations do you co-create both at home and at work?
Concordia Consulting is kicking off a monthly series on Presentation Skills with “Mastering the Basics: A Clearly-Stated Purpose.”
Last quarter I helped an organization prepare for a high-stakes board meeting. In this multi-part blog series on presentations, I will share the tips that I shared with them. And the good news is that these tips will serve you and your organization well, whether you are preparing for a board meeting, a conference, a training session, a staff meeting, or any other type of presentation.
When we were starting our work together, the first question I asked was, “What is your call to action, that is to say, what is the outcome you want from this meeting?” This group had their act together and several people said almost immediately, “We want the board members to see the importance of a new facility and to help us find donors and solicit funds. We want them to help lead the fundraising.” Said more succinctly, “Lead fundraising efforts for new facility by finding donors and soliciting funds.”
Whew! That’s great! It’s a clearly-stated purpose. The only thing that could make that purpose even a smidgeon better would be some clearly-related substeps such as:
- We want Anthony, the treasurer, to show us how much each member needs to raise.
- We want Jeremy in membership to work with Trisha in marketing to create a call campaign and a meet-and-greet plan.
- We are hoping that Mirtha will donate $20,000 at the meeting and role model giving.
A clear purpose for every meeting you hold is imperative for success.
Below are some examples of weak goals:
- We will report to the board about what we have been doing.
- We will share any problems and concerns we have about our membership drive.
- We will show the work of our marketing and advertising teams.
Here are some stronger goals:
- Each board member will leave with an assignment for to be completed before the next board meeting.
- We will convince the board to spend $8.3 million on our advertising campaign.
- We will show the trends of our new product, and simultaneously ask for 8% increased funding for research and development.
In the next article in the series, I will share the best use of visuals. Stay tuned, and get focused!
How are the goals for your next presentation?
‘Twas a week before Christmas
When all through the team
Every creature was stirring
Five via live stream.
Work products were finished
By the employees with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas
Soon would be there.
The colleagues were dressed
In their finest new threads
Office parties and merriment
Danced in their heads.
The streets of DC freezing
Enough to wear caps
All of us hoping
For some time to take naps.
When suddenly my email
Ping and ponged with a clatter
I sprang to my standing desk
To see what was the matter.
A problem at your workplace
So I flew like a flash
Together we talked
A colleague had been brash.
Our talking revealed
Mean words fallen like snow
Tainting relationships and productivity
Above and below.
When what to my wondering eyes
An enlightened and humble leader
Oh what a dear!
With kindness and generosity
So lively and quick
I knew in a moment
Some help from St. Nick!
More rapid than eagles
Her words and actions they came
And she praised and appreciated
As she called them by name.
Now Work Ethic! Now Kindness!
Now Humor and Vixen!
On Competence! On Collaboration!
On Caring and Blixem!
To the top of the skyscrapers
And in every company hall
Spread accountability, responsibility
Appreciation to all.
She sprang to her Uber
And gave her team a big whistle
But I heard her exclaim
As she rode out of sight
“Happy Christmas to all
And to all a good night!”