A couple of weeks ago I had the wonderful experience of attending a great executive programme at a rather famous business school. I was blown away by the quality of many of the delegates with all they had achieved with their businesses and I felt quite humble in their presence. The discussions and insights we got were great and very helpful, but two of the academic teaching team had a massive impact on us all…
“We want to learn how to have IMPACT”
This is one of the most common things we hear from so many of the individuals and teams that we work with. They want to learn how to be heard, how to get their message across in a way that resonates and sticks. If you are one of those, then read on…..
The first of these two waltzed in with an air of familiarity about her being. She started her lecture in a way I can only describe as “here we go again”. In her opening she said “I know a few of you here are business owners” to which we all looked at each other, as the qualification to attend this course was that you owned your own business! Then she started using slides and the programme title on the bottom of each slide was for a programme (for another organisation) the previous week!! The session continued with her going about her talk without really listening to any answers to her questions, answering every question she was posed with “I’ll come to that later” (and then didn’t) and with a level of complacency we really were not expecting. She had indeed created an impact as the subsequent delegate scores and feedback demonstrated, but sadly these memories will forever tarnish some potentially useful lessons in what she spoke about.
The very next Professor started in a different way. He was in the lecture theatre early and greeted each delegate with a big smile and handshake and introduced himself on first name terms as we entered after coffee. He gave us a huge welcome, told us what he was going to talk about and how it would be relevant to running our own businesses. Then he did something I’ve not seen before…
- “who are the two people that run car dealerships?”
- “where are the three jewellers?”
- “and the 5 from family businesses?” etc…
It was clear that this guy had done his homework. He had looked through all our bio’s and understood his audience. Throughout his double session he extracted learnings relevant to our positions and to different businesses and geographies present in the room. He had us captivated. We all made so many notes and the discussions for the rest of the week almost always included his insights. He too had made an impact and his scores were very different.
…know your audience and…speak in THEIR language
This experience got me thinking that one important lesson in having positive impact is to really know your audience and remember to speak in THEIR language and make things relevant to them. These days my kids speak to one another and sometimes to me in a language I do not understand. I also have failed to comprehend the lyrics to some of their favourite songs! If I was to do a session with a group of them it might be good for me to swat up on some of these phrases and incorporate them. The point is, when we simply make it easy for our audience to understand and use the information we are giving them then they will thank us for it. This is especially true when we are talking about things that we often talk about to different groups…be mindful of complacency and check the slides!
Good luck and have some great impact! After all, iTS Leadership!