Are You Ready for “Mission-Critical?

For over three decades, I’ve been helping leaders design, produce and deliver winning “mission-critical” presentations. It’s not easy to influence someone to win over the heart and mind of other people to make a decision you want. Yet, that’s the job of most leaders.

You need to appreciate your audience’s starting position and figure out what kinds of logical and emotional information/experiences may produce change. Then you need to understand the degree of receptivity to change based on the person’s existing perspectives and biases. The setting – place and time for the communication – also has an impact. Only then can you craft a message that’s powerful and persuasive. And when you deliver it your authenticity, humility, trust, and executive presence all play a role in whether the other party will take the desired action.

I organized all these elements into a simple framework called ADAP: Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentations. I’ve had the privilege of coaching and mentoring leaders to produce winning presentations worth $100s of millions in business, advancing careers, and improving people’s lives.  

Over the past decade, I’ve learned that the most effective leaders succeed, in part, because they’re open to receiving input and feedback from others – and by doing so sharpen their ability to see the many perspectives that can impact on a situation. I invite you to polish these skills.

As a Board Chairman for Vistage Worldwide, which services 23,000 global CEOs, I’ve seen how relationships with other CEOs on their personal Peer Advisory Board, as well as interactions with others through the MyVistage online platform reinforces their ability to widen their perspectives and sharpen their decision-making. They introduce a significant challenge they face, and seek critiques and advice for a tentative course of action they are ready to take. Then, they hear from others different perspectives on the challenge and new complications; but they also get fresh ideas on how to solve the problem, and referrals to resources that can help them. The outcomes: better decisions, better results and closer relationships.

McKinsey & Co. uses its management consulting expertise to help leaders of Fortune 500, government agencies and NGOs handle mission-critical issues. As part of its effort to help them handle short-term and long-term consequences of the pandemic, they recommended that leaders “harness the real power of peer networks”.  In “The CEO Moment: Leadership for a New Era”, they note that “CEOs are communicating more, and expanding their networks, in part because only another CEO confronting the pandemic can fully identify with today’s leadership challenges.”  As one CEO put it, “I find talking to other CEOs about how they’re handling the crisis extremely helpful – this shared experience connects us and gives me added perspectives.” Another said: “From an external perspective, I’ve been a beneficiary of amazing calls with other CEOs who have been willing to share their knowledge. This has been such a growing experience”.
As we all try to resolve how to handle the pandemic, in leadership meetings and business presentations, all of us are making mission-critical decisions affecting many stakeholders. Are you harnessing the collective smarts of leaders with integrity and hunger for growth to help you make better business presentations and decisions?  If not, why not? Your competitors are!  Contact me at jerrycahn@presentationexcellence.com or jerry.cahn@vistage.com.

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