I’m in the process of facilitating a series of management development meetings with TKO Graphix installation team leaders. We have installation management at our Plainfield, IN facility as well as locations on the south side of Indianapolis, Lafayette, Terre Haute, and Brazil. The group numbers more than a dozen, so we split them into two teams for training purposes, meeting every other week with each group.
This is something new for most of the team managers. They haven’t been through a lot of management training, so we decided to walk them through my book, The New Manager’s Workbook a crash course in effective management. Our most recent meeting was on Chapter Two: Training, and although I wrote this, and have used it countless times with other group meetings, I practiced the meeting twice before giving it once again.
Getting Off Track
When the meeting was over, Installation manager Bill Moss and I discussed the presentation. I asked what I could improve. He didn’t have anything for me to which I answered, “That doesn’t help me.” And then he shared that his goal was to be able to give the level of seminar that I had just completed. He told me that he knew the material, and often had stories and examples, but he’d forget them or get off track.
I asked Bill how he prepared to talk. He told me that at first, he tried writing it out word for word but that put too much pressure on him and it sounded like he was a bad actor reading a script. Bill asked me how I kept track of my stories, questions, and anecdotes. Here’s what I told him.
First, Outline Your Meeting
I agreed that writing a script never worked for me. It sounded phony, like it was … scripted. I told Bill that I outline the key points I want to touch on.
Next, Add Stories
I showed Bill my hand-written outline and where on the outline I added stories in the liner. My first review of any presentation outline is to look for opportunities to add appropriate stories.
And then, Change Statements to Questions
The next thing I showed Bill were questions I added to the outline. I reviewed the entire outline looking for places I could change a statement to a question usually with an open-ended question, what, how, or why.
I told Bill that although I had covered this material more times than I could count, I still practiced it before presenting. For example, I had given this presentation to the other half of the group the previous week, but because this was a different group, and I wanted to fit the needs of this team. I rehearsed the talk out loud twice before I gave it.
When Bill and I finished talking, he thanked me. I could see from his expression that he understood that what I did wasn’t magic. It was hard work and preparation. Bill knew he could do the same. As he left, he told me he was inspired. The truth is it was Bill who inspired me. It’s why I do this.