Thursday, August 15, 2013

Know Your Audience


Before you say or write anything, you need to consider the makeup of your audience and try to anticipate the type of presentation they want to hear.  Salespeople are no strangers to the concept of “putting yourself in the buyer’s position.”  It means that the seller (you) will consider what points to present, and your means to present those points.

Do not assume all of the people in your audience have the same perspectives as you.  Everyone has different educations, income levels, present life situations.  These individual life experiences are what will that form their perspective on any presented topic.

You may have heard the expression, "Open with a joke".  It's often what someone hears as a point of advice when preparing for a presentation or important  meeting.  Opening a meeting or presentation with a joke can be a great ice breaker or put others at ease. Since technical topics can sometimes be difficult to grasp, it can also assist you in grabbing attention or creating a bond between you and your "audience".  Be sensitive in a meeting or presentation that your audience will be composed of people who will all have different perceptions.  Some may not appreciate your joke.

Knowing your audience — their beliefs, attitudes, age, education level, job functions, language and culture — is the single most important aspect of developing your successful presentation.
David Schuchman

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Delegate: Save Time and Help Others Develop New Skills

There is a solution to when you have way too much to do, you're buried in work, and it seems there's no way out from under it all: Delegate. Many managers complain of having too much to do, but often do not effectively delegate work. Delegating work assignments is an underutilized management tool.
There are plenty of reasons why managers don't delegate.  Some are perfectionists who feel it's easier to do everything themselves, or that their work is better than others.  Some believe that passing on work will detract from their own importance.  Others lack self-confidence and don't want to be upstaged by their subordinates.  Accepting that you can't do everything yourself is a critical first step to delegating.

You may not realize that you're unnecessarily hoarding work.  Look for warning signs.  For example, you are working long hours and feel indispensable while your staff keeps regular hours.  You may also feel that your team doesn't take ownership over projects and that you're the only one who cares. These may be indications that you're not sufficiently doling out tasks and not handing over responsibility.  Once you've recognized what's standing in your way, the next step is to adjust your work approach.

It's important that you pass on work to people who have the necessary skills and are motivated to get the job done right. Ideally, you should be able to delegate some form of work to everyone on your team.  If you push work down to your team, you will free up your time and help your staff members grow.

After you delegate, you must observe and support your direct reports.  Give your employees guidance, but give them the space they need to do their assigned work. Don't walk away from a task you've delegated. Stay involved, but let your employees lead the way.

Once you've started delegating more, pay attention to the results. Ask yourself how you can tweak your approach. Can you delegate more involved tasks? Should you give your direct reports more freedom or do you need to monitor progress more closely? Be patient with yourself while you hone this new skill. It may take a little time, but the payoff will be great.
David Schuchman