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Informing, Persuading, and Making Special Presentations
Learni ag Objectives
13.1 Describe some of the strategies to enhance the effectiveness of a persuasive message
13.2 Describe how developing leadership skills . are important to developing persuasion skills
When Andrea Jung joined Avon in 1993 as a consultant, the company was in big trouble. With more women in the day- time labor' force, door-to-door cosmetic sales had become much more challenging than in the company's heyday during the mid twentieth century. The company's iconic slogan—"Ding dong, Avon calling"—was no longer a mes- sage for success.
Jung knew Avon could do better. She joined the compa- ny's marketing department in 1994 and, on the basis of her communication talents and sales instincts, rose to CEO in
13.3 Describe communication strategies for malting special speaking presentations
1999.1 As CEO, she reengineered Avon from top to bob establishing a trendy flagship store and spa on Fifth Ave thereby rejuvenating the brand and helping to shed its time image as aline of cosmetics that housewives boug their homes. She also expanded the company's rear untapped markets throughout the world and enhance( sales force by upgrading the use of online sales tools.
Today, you can still purchase Avon products from vidual sellers, but you also have many more buying opi Avon is now available in its own stylish boutiques, at
cosmetic stores around the globe, and online. Since Jung took over the company's leadership, the stock price has risen 165 percent. Avon was earning $4 billion per year when she became CEO; in 2013 it had grown to a $10 billion company.2 To remind her of the importance of leadership and being number one, Jung has a pillow in her New York office that reads, "If you are not the lead dog, the view never changes."
Andrea Jung not only knows how to sell cosmetics, She also knows how to sell ideas ;that change the culture .of a company. She is an excellent communicator. As we have emphasized throughout this book, leadership and commu- nication are linked—two sides of the same coin. Jung was able to reinvent Avon by articulately expressing her vision to. her executive colleagues. She also knows .something . about how to both present and persuade. Her application of -the five principles for leadership was the prime factor in her success. She became aware of what needed to be done, communicated well both verbally and nonverbally, lis- tened, and appropriately adapted her message to transform a company. When persuading others, it's especially vital that you adapt or customize your message to the listener.
Leading Questions 1. Andrea Jung is a good salesperson. She first had to
sell her new colleagues on the idea that Avon needed a makeover before company salespersons could sell more Avon products. What are the characteristics of a good salesperson?
2. Women have made dramatic gains in serving as corpo- ' rate CEOs and in other top leadership roles; yet they continue to face challenges. What factors contribute to these challenges?
3. What needs to change for more women to serve in top leadership roles?
Your general communication purpose influences how you present your message. In this chapter, we discuss communicating for the two most common business pur- poses: to inform and to persuade. In addition to informing and persuading, there are special occasions when you will be called on to say a few remarks. These special occasions can be informative, such as when you introduce someone before he or she speaks; more often they will be ceremo- nial, such as when, you. are presenting or receiving an award, giving.a toast, or giving a short speech of thanks or congratulations. Throughout the discussion of informa- tive, persuasive, and special occasion speaking, keep in mind the five communication principles for leadership.
13.1: Informing Others 13.1 Describe some of the strategies to enhance the
effectiveness of a persuasive message.
Think of the best teacher you ever had. He or she was probably a great lecturer with a special talent for making
information clear, interesting, and memorable. As a leas you no doubt will be called on in your professional life present information to others. To inform is to share in mation with others to enhance their knowledge or unc standing of the information, concepts, or ideas present When you inform someone, you assume the role c teacher by defining, illustrating, clarifying, or elaborai on a topic. In a professional context, briefs, reports, tures, and training presentations are typical formats informing others.
Skilled leaders are also expected to be skilled edt tors. However, speaking to inform others can b challenging task. The information you communicate someone else is rarely, if,ever, understood exactly as intend it: Simply _presenting information does not m that communication has occurred. Communication h pens when listeners make sense of the information t receive. What do effective leaders/educators do to a municate information to others? They simplify so lister understand the message, pace the information to av information overload, directly address the needs and pi lems of their listeners, and "reinforce their messages r verbally or visually.
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Sometimes You need to Inform and Sometimes You need to Persuade Knowing whether your audience expects you to inform or suade is. important. For example, Roman Stanek, CE( GoodData, doesn't like it when people just bring him infoi tion. He wants to know what the pieces of information m he is looking for the "So what?" of what ha hears. Stanek wants to be persuaded, not just informed: "A manager is r messenger. I don't like my managers essentially talking to people without being able to express their opinion and pos what they're discussing:'3
Of course, not everyone wants a persuasive mes:
from you. It's important to know your audience, even if it'
audience of one (especially if that single audience memb your boss) to determine whether you are expected to prc that audience with information or to also take a position or information that you share, in order to persuade.
Whether informing or persuading, be aware that s audiences don't like or have time to process long messa Stanek, for example, candidly admits, "People know that I long a-mails and that all of the a-mails they send me, w few exceptions, should always be short enough to fit or screen of my_ iPhone. If you send me an e-mail, and I nee scroll down to read it all, you've lost me."
M, ue, Id-
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Again, not all of the people you communicate with will like bite-size messages; some will want more detail. What's impor- tant is to remember that some people have very specific expectations about. the messages they receive. As we've said throughout this book, assess your audience to determine the goal of your message as well as the best format for communk cating it.
USE SIMPLE IDEAS Mark Twain told a story about a Missouri farmer who ran for the state legislature five times but lost each election. He didn't lose because he didn't practice his campaign speeches; he gave his speeches to his cows each morning. The problem was, according to Twain, that he used "high-falutin"' words when he should have used shorter terms. He described his audience as "my enlightened constituents" and suggested he was trying to "obtain a mandate" for his "legislative mission." During one of his morning rehearsals, one of his cows knocked out his front teeth in such a way that the farmer could only use one-syllable words. The result: He won every election in his career from that day on.4
When you inform others, your job is to get your ideas across to your audience, not to see how much information you can cram in. The simpler your ideas and phrases, the greater the chance that your audience will remember them. We don't mean you should. talk down to your audience. Listeners can sense a speaker's superior know-it-all atti- tude, and they won't like it. Simplify your message, but don't be condescending.
PACE INFORMATION FLOW Organize your talk so that you present an even stream of information, rather than bunch up a number of significant details around one point. If you present too much new information too quickly, you may overwhelm your audience, and your listeners' ability to understand may falter.
USE ADULT LEARNING STRATEGIES If your audience consists of adult listeners, you will need to ensure that you deliver your message in the way that adults learn best. Adult learners prefer .-5
• To be given information they can use immediately
• To be actively involved in the learning process
• To connect their life experiences with the new informa- tion they learn
• To know how the new information is relevant to their busy lives
• To know how the information will solve a problem
• To receive information that is relevant to their needs
Most people who work in business have in-baskets on their desks to hold work that must be done. Similarly, each of us has a kind of mental in-basket: an agenda of what we
want or need from a presentation. Remember the chara, teristics of adult learners and the importance of adaptin your message to others. You will hold your audience interest, and also have more success in informing them, you tailor your information to address what is in yoi audience's literal or metaphorical in basket.
REINFORCE IDEAS NONVERBALLY Gestures serve tl purpose of accenting or emphasizing key phrases, as itali do in written communication..A well-placed pause cE emphasize or reinforce a point. Raising or lowering yoi voice can also reinforce a key idea. Movement can he emphasize major ideas. Moving from behind the lectern tell a personal anecdote can signal that something sped and more intimate is about to .be said. Finally, photo images, charts, and other visual information may be jL what your listeners need to better understand your k ideas, rather than you piling on more words.
13.1.1: Presenting Briefings Abriefing ( or a brief), as you might guess from the name. a short talk that provides information to an audience. briefing can focus on what has happened in the past, wl is currently happening on a given project or topic, or wl may happen in the future. The military, public saf( organizations (police departments, security departmen medical organizations, and other organizations that nE clear, short summaries of information almost exclusiv, rely on briefings to ensure the exchange of information
Briefings are short (from 5 to 15 minutes), so they ty cally don't have an extended or formal introduction. should still be mindful of catching your listeners' attenti but not with a lengthy story or illustration. Just get to yl points after a very short overview. Listeners expect a b: to be quick.
Because several briefs are often presented one a: another, the first brief may provide a longer introdutitioi introduce the briefings that will follow. For examplE you're giving a briefing about the income-and-loss st ment for the past quarter and you're part of a four-per team, each of whom is sharing information, provide a sl overview of your message, present your key ideas, sum rize them, link to what the next person will say, and sit do
The organizational pattern for briefings is usually t cal or chronological. It's still appropriate to use transi phases and signposts .('7 have three points to make. First:. but the transitional phrases are shorter and less pronour than in a more extended informative presentation.
Some briefings can be quite formal, and listeners i expect a no-nonsense delivery style with little use of hu and lots of information.. In other organizational cults however, a briefing is expected to be informal and ca: It's important to be aware of your audience as you n decisions on how to customize your briefing content.
13.1.2: Presenting Reports A report is a summary of what has been accomplished in the past or an update on a project. In contrast to a briefing, a report is often a longer, more detailed summary of a past, present, or future event. For example, a briefing could pro- vide a summary of reactions to the new employee-training program; a report on the same topic could include infor- mation about the rationale for the new training, a sum- mary of the training content, and a review of methods of assessing the training. Briefs are brief; reports are longer. Some organizations, however, use the terms report and briefing interchangeably. You may be asked to report on how to increase sales in the next quarter or to present-the findings of a market survey your division has conducted in the past several months. Whatever the specific objective of the report, the general purpose is to communicate infor- mation or policy; some reports include a persuasive appeal to try some new course of action. Consider the following when preparing a report:
• ADAPT TO YOUR AUDIENCE. When you are pre- senting your report, keep in mind that your audience is there to hear you address a particular need or prob- lem. Begin by briefly acknowledging.that situation..
• PRESENT CONCLUSIONS, THEN EXPLAIN HOW YOU REACHED THEM.. If you are reporting on a particular project or study, first discuss what your research group decided to do to explore the problem. Then explain how you gathered the information.
• END A REPORT WITH SOLUTIONS OR IDENTIFY WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. Most listeners want to know what the bottom line is. The most important part of some reports is a summary of new courses of action or changes in present policy. When your report proposes changes, tell your audience what's in it for them— what benefits will accrue to them directly as a result of the new proposal. One business consultant suggests this report technique:
'rune your audience into radio station WIIFM—What's In It For Me: Tell your listeners where the benefits are for them, and they'll listen to everything you have to say.6
In addition to listening to a report, audience members usually expect to receive a hard copy or email version of the report, or at least a summary of the report's key conclusions.
13.1.3: Presenting Public Relations Presentations In a public relations presentation, the speaker is specifically providing information to promote a positive public image for the person or organization the speaker is represerlting.. People who work for professional associations, hospitals,
utility companies, government agencies, universities, reli- gious organizations, or charitable institutions, as well as those employed by commercial enterprises, are often called on to speak to an audience about what their organi- zation does or about a special project the'organization has taken on. Although the purpose of many public relations (PR) speeches is to present information, there is often a persuasive edge to public relations messages, too. The speaker may be trying to maintain a positive general impression of the organization, or, because a particular program or situation has raised some questions or concerns, to convince listeners of the positive features of the organization.
Here are some suggestions for developing PR presentations:
• NOTE HOW THE COMPANY, ORGANIZATION, OR POLICY HAS SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS FOR THE LISTENER. Often a PR speech describes the virtues of the policy or program the. speaker is promoting.
• IF A SPECIFIC PROBLEM OR ISSUE HAS PROMPTED THE SPEECH, IDENTIFY AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE. CONCERNS. Then go on to explain how the company or organization can meet the need, solve the problem, or why there really is no problem.
• ANTICIPATE CRITICISM AND OBJECTIONS. Especially if the primary purpose of your speech is to change opinions or address a controversial issue, be sure to acknowledge the listeners' points of view. Then, counter potential problems or objections with your explanation of how the company or organization has carefully worked through potential pitfalls and drawbacks. Demonstrate that what may look like a problem actually can easily be addressed.
13.1.4: Presenting Training Sessions Business and professional organizations invest billions of dollars each year in training their employees .7 Training is a special type of informative speaking through which the trainer seeks to develop specific skills in listeners to help them perform a specific job or task more effectively.s Many organizations have extensive training departments whose function is to orient new employees to the organization and teach specific job skills, including communication skills. The goal of a training session is for listeners not only to be. able to recall information but also to perform specific tasks. Compared to traditional classroom education, train- ing focuses more on behavioral learning, whereas educa- tion emphasizes the cognitive. domain. Broadly speaking, training emphasizes doing, and education emphasizes knowing. Since the goal of training is to implement behav- ior change, training presentations also seek to persuade or
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motivate listeners to perform the skill or task being taught r as well as to provide them with information.
. Presenting training is similar. to any presentation; it's essential to focus on the needs, interests, and backgrounds of your listeners. Training that does not address a trainee's needs or specific job functions is not effective training. Because the primary purpose of any training program is to respond to the learning needs of the trainee, Figure 13.1 presents a needs-centered model.
Figure 13.1: A Needs-Centered Training Model
. Drawing on adult learning theory, a trainer should view himself or herself less as a lecturer and more as a facilitator. Adult learners bring their own experiences to the training session; they want to focus on real problems that are in their literal or metaphorical in-baskets or on their to do lists. A trainer follows the steps in Figure 13.1 in order to draw on those experiences. and equip trainees to address problems.
ANALYZE ORGANIZATIONAL AND TRAINEE NEEDS. You may notice that Figure 13.1 closely resembles the audi- ence-centered model of presentations that we introduced in Chapter 11. At the center of the model in Figure 13.1--m- and the first and crucial ongoing step in any training=is the process of identifying the needs of the organization and those of the specific trainees who will attend the. train- ing session: the audience. Every other aspect of designing and delivering a training presentation depends on the needs of the trainees.
The process of identifying trainee needs is quite simi- lar to analyzing your audience when delivering a
presentation. For example, many trainers determine their audience's needs by asking them—using surveys, ques= tionnaires, or interviews—what they need. In addition to analyzing the. needs of individuals, it's also important to consider the needs of the organization. What does it need employees or volunteers to do?
ANALYZE THE TRAINING TASK Viewing the model in Figure 13.1 as a clock, begin at the top and work your way .around clockwise to explore the steps of designing and delivering a training presentation. After you've figured out what trainees need (for example, skill in listening or conflict management), an early critical step in designing a training program is to thoroughly analyze the specific task you want the trainees to perform. You conduct a task analysis. A task analysis is a detailed, step-by-step descrip- tion of precisely what a trainee should do and know in order to perform a particular skill. As the trainer, if you are going to teach someone how to prepare and deliver a sales presentation, you first need to know what the steps in that process are before you teach them to others. Most likely, you will have only limited time to teach a skill, so you may have to focus only on the most critical steps. A task analysis lets you discover what the essential ele- ments of a task are. (Our needs-centered training model is itself a simplified task analysis of how to train someone. Each piece of the model represents an essential step in the process.)
DEVELOP TRAINING OBJECTIVES After you have fig- ured out the steps in teaching a particular skill, it's impor- tant to develop objectives or learning outcomes that you want your trainees to achieve. It's important to specify the precise behavior you want trainees to perform at the end of the training. We begin each chapter in this book with a list of learning objectives. Reviewing those objectives will give you an idea of the format and style for training objectives. Training objectives are also similar to the specific purpose statement for a presentation, discussed in Chapter 11. Training objectives specify what you want trainees to be able to do following the training presentation.
ORGANIZE TRAINING CONTENT Once you have your. precise training objectives in hand, you can begin drafting the information that trainees need to know and describing in more detail the behaviors that they will be expected to perform.. The most typical organizational patterns for training content include (1) chronological (a .step-by-step sequence of what someone does first, second, and so on), (2) by complexity (from simplest or easiest to learn to more complex or more detailed information), and (3) topical (identifying the natural divisions in a topic).
DETERMINE TRAINING METHODS To train someone, you don't just talk to them. Adult learners are not inter- ested in hearing a three- or four-hour lecture; that's not
good training. So you'll need to develop effective methods of presenting information to your trainees. You may decide that, rather than presenting a lecture, it would -be better to have trainees participate in role-playing situations, discuss a case study, or brainstorm solutions to a problem that you pose. A typical training session may involve a mix of meth- ods, including the following.
Training Session Methods
A trainer's job is to facilitate rather than to lecture. Demonstrating a skill and then having trainees practice performing it is much more effective than merely describing the skill.
SELECT TRAINING RESOURCES Perhaps you've dis- covered an excellent video that masterfully illustrates the skill you want to teach in the training session. Or, maybe you've decided to use a small-group method and you want trainees to respond to discussion questions. Whether it's a video, a list of discussion questions, PowerPoint presenta- tion slides, or some other type of resource, you'll need to decide what materials you'll need to prepare for the train- ing presentation.
COMPLETE TRAINING PLANS After you've developed your objectives and settled on the content of the training, . the methods you will use to present your message, and the resources you need, it is important to develop a compre- hensive written plan that describes how you will present your session: a training plan (sometimes called a lessor. plait in educational settings). There are many different formats.
Some training plans are simply detailed outlines of ttie training content and methods. Other plans offer a complete narrative transcript of the training lesson. Most training plans include a description of the objectives, methods, training content, and training resources needed, along with an estimate of how much time each part of the training will take.
DELIVER TRAINING After developing a well-crafted plan, you are now ready to, bring the training presenta- tion to life. You deliver your training not only by present- ing lectures, videos, and activities but also by asking good questions to facilitate class discussion. An effective training presentation.should be much more interactive than a speech, although the elements of effective speech delivery (such as eye contact, good posture, effective ges- tures, and varied vocal inflection) are essential when training others.
ASSESS THE TRAINING PROCESS When the training session is over, a trainer's job is not- complete. Effective trainers evaluate how their training was received (Did trainees like it?) and even more important, whether train- ees learned what they needed W. The ultimate test of a training session is whether trainees 'can'use the new skills on the job. Did the training make a difference?
Each piece of the needs-centered model of training reflects an essential element of what a trainer. does. Train- ers first and foremost focus on the needs of learriers and then carefully develop a training program that meets those needs. Training others well involves more than just talking to them.. Effective training develops a specific skill by hav- ing trainees practice and receive feedback to master the skills being taught:
#Technology and Communication @ Work Communicating via the Web Contemporary technology is making it easier to share mes- sages with others who are separated in space and time. Here are a few of the technology-based methods of connecting with an audience that you are likely to use an alternative to face-to- face business presentation8:9
op Web. 2.0. Web 2.0 is a general term that describes the second generation of presenting and gathering infor- mation on the Internet. Web 1.0, the first generation of: Internet technology, was "read-focused": The pri- mary function was to present messages that were only designed to be read by someone. Web. 2.0 is a "read- write" technology. In addition to sharing information, the receiver of the message can easily respond by writing back to the message sender. Facebook is an example
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of a read-write Web 2.0 technology that permits com- municators to interact with one another with seamless ease, including sharing photos, videos, web links, and instant-messaging capabilities.
Wikis. Wikis are collaborative web-based sites that permit many people to 'share information with one another. The distinctive feature of wikis is the open-editing function that permits all users to develop a resource collabora- tively. Well-known sites, such as the encyclopedia Wike- pedia, the travel guide Wiki Travel, and the how-to manuals WikiHow, are places on the web where you not only can share information with others but also can con- tribute to the information presented. Of course, when retrieving information from a Wiki source, consider the source. Although evidence indicates that the self.-policing of the content helps keep the information current and accurate, there is always the potential for misinformation to be posted on a wiki site.
Internet Video. If you've used Skype, FaceTiime, or a host of other Internet video software programs and apps, you know how easy it is to hold a video conversation with someone who is miles or continents away from you. The software or apps you need are often free, and the video cameras and microphones required for video con- versations come built-in to most computers and all smart phones.
Podcast. A podcast is a radio broadcast that uses the technology of an iPod through iTunes to share a mes- sage with others. Originally, podcasts were audio mes- sages, but through vodcasts it's now relatively easy to share video .and audio messages. You don't need to travel to India, China, or even San Francisco; you can present your report to your superiors with a podcast or vocicast.
Regardless of the technology used to solve problems and share information, it's people that make communication possible, an important point to keep in mind in all your work- place interactions. Malcolm Gladwell, in noting the impor- tance of the human element in communicating with others, said this:
Technology does not and cannot change the underlying dynam- ics of "human" problems; it doesn't make it easier to love or mo- tivate or dream or convince.10
13.2: Persuading Others 13.2 Describe how developing leadership skills are
important to developing persuasion skills.
Peruse the management and leadership section of Amazon or any brick-and-mortar bookstore, and you'll find books about how to influence others. The best-selling business management book of all time is Dale Carnegie's classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. At the heart of influen- t - -=L~-~ — 1—inv able to persuade them. To persuade
someone is to change or reinforce the person's attitudes (likes and dislikes), beliefs (what is perceived to be true or false), values (what is considered good or bad), or behavior. As we discuss later in this chapter, sales presentation is a type of persuasive presentation you'll commonly encounter in a professional setting.
Informative and persuasive speaking are related pro- cesses. When you interview for a job, you're doing more than simply presenting information …