Arouse and Fulfill – Formula For Effective Presentations (wise counsel from Dr. Tom Hollihan, the USC Annenberg School)
Tom Hollihan (a professor of communication at the USC Annenberg School), was one of my teachers at USC a couple of lifetimes ago. I was working toward the Ph.D. (never finished the dissertation – one of my regrets). He was a good teacher, a passionate communicator – able to explain complex ideas clearly.
I ran across this interview with him, and he describes just what is needed for an effectively communicated message, boiling it down to its true essence:
The arousal and fulfillment of your audience’s desires… You want to pique their interest, and then you want to satisfy that interest that you’ve piqued – and if you fail in either regard, you haven’t had an effective message. If you don’t arouse them, they never get engaged, they never connect, and never listen. If you don’t fulfill them, they walk away, saying well, you know, that wasn’t a very satisfying talk.
When I teach presentation skills, and my speech classes, I strongly stress the importance of the Introduction of a speech. I describe how those first few seconds need to hook the audience’s attention, and especially engage the heart of the listener. This short excerpt from Dr. Hollihan helps me understand the other end of the formula – to bring the promise of the speech/presentation to fruition with a sense of fulfillment. Arouse and fulfill — a pretty good, really useful formula.
There’s much more in the interview that is valuable and useful, like: Stories have to be told again and again to gain traction. You can read the full interview here.
Here is another Industry News update featured online by Talent Management magazine, dated February 7, 2011. To check out all the resources and sign up for a free subscription to Talent Management and/or Chief Learning Officer magazine, please click here.
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Manpower Inc., a provider of workforce solutions, announced that continuing high levels of unemployment are coupled with large numbers of unfilled job vacancies, as the January U.S. jobs report — recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics — showed the economy created 36,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 of a percentage point to nine percent.
Manpower announced at the recent World Economic Forum Annual meeting that employers will be awakened to the power of humans as the future drivers of economic growth as access to talent replaces access to capital as the key economic differentiator. Aging workforces, the collaborative power of rapidly-evolving technologies, the need for companies to do more with less, and the problem of the skills young people are being equipped with not matching the skills businesses need are converging, making talent attraction and retention critical in order for organizations to gain a competitive edge.
“As the economy begins to click into second gear, employers are hiring but they are doing so with extreme caution,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Manpower Inc. chairman and CEO. “They will only hire individuals who have the exact specificity of skills they are looking for. The economy will gather strength as 2011 progresses and businesses will need to work with their people to unleash their full spectrum of skills and engage them on a human level to retain their best employees in an era when competition for talents becomes ever greater.”
Temporary employment was little changed in January, with a fall of 11,000 in the number of people taken on for temporary assignments during the month. This suggests employers still have a degree of uncertainty about the sustainability of the recovery and are opting to grow their flexible workforce rather than risk full-time hires at this stage. Manpower’s quarterly Employment Outlook Survey for the first three months of 2011 shows that American employers report the most optimistic hiring intentions in more than two years.
Source: PR Newswire
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For more information, please click here.
Here is an excerpt of an article co-authored by Ram Charan and Michael Sisk for strategy+business magazine (February 7, 2011), published by Booz & Company. To read the complete article, check out other free online resources, and obtain subscription information, please click here.
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Sooner or later, most global business leaders will have to put their entire enterprise at risk. Here’s how to do it successfully.
Anatomy of a Strategic Bet
A strategic bet is a big, bold move made either to transform a company and create a new growth trajectory or to create a totally new enterprise. Almost all strategic bets are potential game changers for the company, its industry, and sometimes adjacent industries; indeed, strategic bets are so comprehensive that they tend to alter most of the company’s staff, processes, and practices. Such bets require serious commitment from leaders and boards. In almost all cases, especially if the strategic bet involves a highly visible action, such as a large acquisition, there will be concerns about how the market, the analysts, and the rating agencies will react. Nonetheless, strategic bets work only if management and boards have the confidence and stamina to sustain themselves until the outside world sees the merit of their decision — a period that could last five or 10 years.
There are at least three basic reasons for making a strategic bet:
1. To acquire a controlling interest in, or even a stranglehold over, critical resources or competencies. For example, in late 2010, several strategic bets were under way in the mining and metals industry. They were driven by competition among Chinese and Indian companies for the kinds of rare elements needed for new technologies — such as lithium, a metal expected to be in greater demand for the next generation of car batteries.
2. To escape a declining industry before others see its demise. Typically, this approach is taken when a company’s leadership recognizes that part of the business is being commoditized or for some other reason is about to lose value and pricing power. Instead of riding the industry down, the company sells the business to cut its losses and puts its efforts into something with more promise.
In 1996, Allied Signal CEO Lawrence A. Bossidy made exactly that sort of clear-eyed assessment of the company’s auto parts business, which was responsible for almost 15 percent of its total sales. The company sold off the lion’s share of its car parts business for $2.1 billion, moving instead to concentrate on aerospace and chemical products. Two years later, Bossidy led the purchase of Honeywell, which was about half the size of Allied Signal, for a stock swap worth approximately $14 billion, creating a goliath in the global aerospace and chemical products markets.
The strategic bet to escape a declining industry must not be confused with selling a business to simply rationalize operations. For example, many companies sell divisions with the assumption that the acquiring company will run them more efficiently, and to gain some cash in the process. Such divestitures are worthwhile, but unless the fate of the company is riding on their completion, they are not strategic bets.
3. To practice a form of large-scale entrepreneurship. This typically means acquiring companies, technologies, or core competencies needed to be successful in an emerging form of enterprise. For example, consider Bharti Airtel Ltd. It is the largest cellular service provider in India, with more than 120 million subscribers. Its global expansion strategy has been based on scale and efficiency: that is, acquiring customers with very low asset intensity (requiring little capital per dollar of revenue). This type of expansion can be risky, because it often requires extensive investment to move rapidly to gain first-mover advantage.
In 2009, Bharti Airtel’s management negotiated for months to acquire MTN Group Ltd., a South Africa–based multinational mobile telecommunications company operating in many Middle East and African countries. The Bharti Airtel–MTN deal was an enormous strategic bet; it was championed by Chairman Sunil Mittal, but investors and analysts opposed it, in part because of the debt financing involved. Mittal eventually called off negotiations, in the autumn of 2009, but only when the South African government withheld support for the deal.
Nonetheless, Mittal was undaunted by his critics. In June 2010, Bharti Airtel acquired Zain Africa for $10.7 billion. This branch of the Kuwaiti telecommunications company Zain had operations in 15 African counties; Mittal thus gained the foothold on that continent that he had missed with MTN. At about the same time, Bharti Airtel announced a deal to purchase 70 percent of Warid Telecom International Ltd. of Bangladesh. Analysts threw cold water on the plans, pressuring management and the board to abandon the strategy. But Mittal has resisted the pressure to withdraw; he has assembled a topnotch team of managers to go into the Middle East and Africa, and Bharti Airtel is clearly in it for the long term. Tellingly, bankers have competed Tellingly, bankers have competed aggressively to finance the deals.
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Ram Charan is a Dallas-based advisor to boards and CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and the author or coauthor of 16 books, including the bestseller Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done (with Larry Bossidy; Crown Business, 2002), Boards That Deliver: Advancing Corporate Governance from Compliance to Competitive Advantage (Jossey-Bass, 2005), and The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation (with A.G. Lafley; Crown Business, 2008). Michael Sisk is a writer based in New York. He was a contributing writer on Merge Ahead: Mastering the Five Enduring Trends of Artful M&A, by Gerald Adolph and Justin Pettit (McGraw-Hill, 2009), and the editor of The Whole Deal: Fulfilling the Promise of Acquisitions and Mergers (Booz & Company, 2006).
Listen my children and you shall hear
of the midnight ride of Paul Revere…
So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm…
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
We all know the story. Here’s the account from Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point:
In two hours, Paul Revere covered thirteen miles. In every town he passed through along the way – Charlestown, Medford, North Cambridge, Menotomy – he knocked on doors and spread the word, telling local colonial leaders of the oncoming British, and telling them to spread the word to others. Church bells started ringing. Drums started beating. The news spread like a virus as those informed by Paul Revere sent out riders of their own, until alarms were going off throughout the entire region.
Paul Revere’s ride is perhaps the most famous historical example of a word-to mouth epidemic.
Gladwell goes on to describe that one reason Revere’s ride worked so well was that it was Paul Revere who made that ride, and not someone else. Paul Revere was a world-class networker. People knew him – he knew people. When Paul Revere spread the news, it was not a stranger spreading that news – but a person they knew, recognized, trusted. He had credibility.
It reminds me a little about the time when Walter Cronkite, out of character for him, injected his opinion into a broadcast. He stated, simply, that Vietnam was not winnable – a stalemate was the best we could hope for. He stated it directly to the American people, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson famously responded:
“For it seems now more certain than ever,” Cronkite said, “that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate.” After watching Cronkite’s broadcast, LBJ was quoted as saying. “That’s it. If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”*
The common thread here is this: when a person speaks, the more known/connected that person is, the more trusted, the more credible…then the more people will respond.
It takes a while (a lifetime?) of networking, of building a reputation of reliability, of building true credibility, to have that kind of impact.
So – make every connection you can. Make those connections “strong ties” (Gladwell again). Because, one of these days, you are going to need people to listen to what you have to say.
* Yes, I am aware that there is some element of myth to the Cronkite story and LBJ’s response. But, a myth is powerful — whether it gets details right or wrong. I tell my students that “a myth is a story that is true, whether it is true or not.”
As Edward M. Hallowell explains in his most recent book, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People, published by Harvard Business Review Press (2011), “Many people need help in getting rid of the obstacles in their way. In the workplace, this is the challenge that managers face: to help people overcome these obstacles and enter into [what Hallowell characterizes as ‘The Cycle of Excellence']. While I have made many suggestions on how to do this, my concluding suggestion is this: do it your way. Ultimately, neither I nor anyone else can tell you what to do more skillfully than you can tell yourself.”
Hallowell does suggest these “simple, concrete steps” to promote a feeling of connectedness in a workplace:
1. Notice and acknowledge people.
2. Allow for people’s idiosyncrasies and peccadilloes.
3. Develop an organization-wide e-mail policy.
4. Encourage everyone to have “human moments.”
5. Encourage people to recognize stress within themselves
6. Praise others freely and continuously.
7. As a manager, try not to think in judgmental, moralistic terms.
8. Literally, light up the world of your workplace.
9. Keep food and drink around.
10.Foster impromptu get-togethers.
11. Encourage people to reach out.
“Whatever you do, your goal as a manager should be to minimize feelings of alienation and falseness within your organization, while increasing feelings of openness and honesty. You want to make sure people feel permission to be real.”
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Edward M. Hallowell, MD, a psychiatrist, served as an instructor at Harvard Medical School for twenty years and is director of the Hallowell Centers in New York City and Sudbury, Massachusetts, and is the author of two Harvard Business Review articles and 18 books.