Are you ready to see Spectre, the 24th James Bond movie, opening November 6? Like Skyfall, this one stars Daniel Craig and is directed by Sam Mendes. Skyfall was the most successful Bond film ever, grossing over $1 billion at the box office worldwide. I. Can’t. Wait.
Since 1954, when Casino Royale came out, the James Bond franchise has consistently delivered (through an ever changing cast and multiple directors) what their audience wants: elegant escapism with beautiful scenery, sophisticated toys, cool British accents and a dash of suspense.
And then there is communication at work. Ubiquitous and meh. Some presentations and emails are barely intelligible.
I’m here to tell you, you can channel James (or Jane) Bond and deliver a little extra inspiration to your colleagues and reports. You don’t need to speak with a British accent, unless of course, you’re British.
Be not deceived. It’s not effortless.
The first thing is, the thing that almost no one at work gets, is don’t be boring. No matter what topic. Boring means irrelevant to your audience.
Let’s begin by shattering the false assumptions.
This is what they don’t want from you [whether it’s a formal presentation or meeting.]
:: jargon, buzzwords or acronyms unless absolutely essential
:: diving into the what, when, how without explaining the most important WHY.
:: complaining, however justified
:: talking for the sake of talking
Your people do not expect you to mesmerize them. Unless you work for Cirque de Soleil. Your audience actually craves something deeper.
What they REALLY want from you:
1. Your audience wants you to care about them.
By “care” you can substitute “appreciate” or “value.” This is more precisely what they are looking for:
:: You respect their time. Brevity is sexy.
:: You shape your message around them and their preferences, not yours.
:: You make it easy to remember the important part.
:: You act excited/pleased to have this opportunity to share with them.
:: You put any details they need in a hand-out or email after the presentation.
:: When you sparsely use technical words or acronyms, you give examples to make sure everyone is clear.
2. They want to know why you’re telling them this message.
You think this is obvious. It is not.
If you don’t tell them why to do something, you’re just telling them what to do. Communication fail.
Answer this one question: Why are you telling them this?
3. Your audience wants you to get to the point, unless you have this crazy interesting story to tell them.
Really no need to go on and on. Probably they got it. You can ask questions to check for learning.
If you end before your allotted time, this gift of time is priceless.
4. They want to be surprised only in a positive way.
At Macworld 1998, remember this was even before the iPod, Steve Jobs walked on the stage with a leather jacket and gave the jacket to an assistant so it seems like if had just come in from a motorcycle. That…. was not expected.
Dress up if that strikes your fancy. Tell them something they *don’t* expect. Share something with them that few people know about you. Play them a song, show a movie clip, show them a dance move.
5. Everyone wants your respect.
The worst speaker-not-respecting audience scenario can go like this. [The memory is still rather fresh.] Upper-level executive comes to speak to the minions. The minions are highly-skilled, specialists in their fields of science, computing, data, et cetera. They are beyond smart.
Highly paid, fancy-schmancy executive comes to explain a new policy or program or committee and shows multiple slides with tiny print, complex Venn diagrams out the wazoo that explain the intricate details of this New Thing From Top Management. Sound familiar? Only nobody knows why it’s here or what goal it’s supposed to achieve.
Fancy executive then asks for questions. There are none. No one has been listening since slide 3.
No one’s complaining because everyone likes getting their paycheck.
The main thing your audience wants from you is for you to connect the dots for them to know why this important to THEM and what they need to do about it. It’s not about how great you are; it’s about helping them.
You are the Yoda. They are the Luke Skywalkers. Your Hero’s Journey is to help them on theirs.