Earlier this month, I returned to Anheuser-Busch with another Gutsy Leadership seminar and had the pleasure of meeting their national PR agency Praytell. Our topic was on communication and leveraging our soft skills, however in truth it’s not really about what we say per se, although I get how much emphasis we need to put on our words. I believe if you were asked to wing a client presentation in the next five minutes, you would find the right words with no rehearsal or reruns needed. The words will just come. Crazy? Let me give you a quick formula which will guarantee that that you can knock that deck out in no time, everytime.
Step 1: Put yourself in your clients shoes. Rather than talk about what you DO, talk about the results you deliver first. Talk about their benefits. Talk about why your role and your team matter. Don’t talk about you, (although I deeply respect you) they don’t want to hear about you. They want to hear why what you deliver, matters. In other words, I want you to pretend the only question on their mind is: SO WHAT?
Step 2: Jot down three bullet points, on one slide. Write whatever three come up from your GUT:
- Result 1
- Result 2
- Result 3
Step 3: Now fluff it up with a personal story at the beginning of your presentation and close with any questions. 5-minutes and (woo hoo!), you are done.
Now let’s talk about the common scenario I discussed with participants from Anheuser-Busch and Pray tell PR: you and/or your team are pulling all nighters for weeks to make that client proposal, or deliver that project on time and in budget.
So there you are, wiping sweat and tears off your face, feeling grateful once the project is COMPLETE and DONE and your clients are happy. Great job, but what kind of language are you using to demonstrate all of that effort? Are you slipping it under their door, quietly or worse shooting a voila! e-mail over as notification? Or on that group conference call, are you weaving in what it took to get there? I get how important it is to make your deadlines but make no mistake, it puts you at risk if you are giving a ‘cool and casual’ impression that your job was effortless and could be done in your sleep. Rather than sweeping your time spent under the rug, talk about the effort made and challenges you may have faced. The same applies if you are consistently answering e-mails on weekends. That’s great if you want to be of service in every way, but what kind of message does that send if you make yourself available 24-7?
It’s not about what you say, it’s about how you want to be perceived.
I’d like you to meet fictitious Paul, who offers an excellent example of how you can subtly dilute your value. Paul is an expert at making widgets and has been perfectly happy doing this for several years. But when Paul is asked to establish some credibility by talking about what he does so well, he says, ‘I’ve been doing my job just fine for a long time and am the resident expert at it. I don’t need to talk about what I do, I can do it in my sleep!’’
To this I would whole-heartedly agree – in those shoes Paul has no good reason to self-promote, until…Paul gets so restless and unmotivated he wants to move onto something new. Now what? Where’s his sticker value then? All of those years he was perceived as quietly getting the job done, black boxing all of his hard effort was given no spotlight.
You see Paul doesn’t just make widgets, he found ways to make those widgets faster with less cost and less human intervention. He has replaced the traditional widget process with one that is more streamlined and efficient based on listening closely to some complaints from workers who package those widgets. Now, he has made their lives easier as well.
But is Paul talking about his value at the Widget factory so his clients know he was instrumental in that widget revamp? Sadly no, he is not.
I say this even if you are a one-member team, if you are on a project that made even the slightest impact to someone and you have added value to a process, then you are qualified to talk about your results openly, so you are *perceived* as adding value. If Paul starts doing this, he can leave and fast-path his way as an independent expert adviser helping others how to transform their widget process too, at their factories.
Gutsy Leadership is having that growth mindset with self-awareness on how you are perceived. If you show up speaking as a worker bee, then others will perceive and treat you as one. But if you want to grow in your career or business, then you need to consistently talk about your best work as a results maker and do it with an enthusiastic energy which people will feel, so everyone is clear, on your PRODUCTS, and on your VALUE. You may know this rationally, but are you BEING this as well?
How do you want your clients to feel ? How do you want to be perceived?
You’ve got this. Big hug coming your way,
Ready to make your Gutsy Breakthrough and design the career (and life) you want? Learn more on how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Coaching programs to suit every budget. Schedule a call, learn more. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll see if I can help. Learn more here.
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