Help Global Marketing Staff Think On Their Feet And Prepare For The Unexpected
A Fortune 200 health and beauty products company wanted to improve the abilities of its global marketing executives to communicate more effectively, influence others, “think on their feet” and prepare confidently for the “unexpected” in today’s market environment. This group believed that professionalism meant never divulging anything of a personal nature in a work environment. Yet, all great leaders use their personal power to extend influence, persuade, educate encourage and empower. That’s how great organizations build relationship, establish credibility and create culture. The true stories leaders tell about their life, experiences and vision is how the movers and shakers make things happen. Personal power fuels how others get results. A secondary goal was to build team. The competitive landscape of this business sector demanded better teamwork, problem solving and innovation, and the client believed improved communication skills with a focus on personal power, persuasion and influencing skills would enhance these.
Ms. Pulos devised a program called, “Power, Persuasion & Influence.” The group was divided into teams. Through an eight-week presentations skills program that included a full-day persuasive presentation skills group session, on camera individual coaching sessions for each participant, keeping a journal, a half-day stress management/rehearsal session and story development assistance, the program culminated in a timed storytelling competition on the theme of persuasion held with co-workers, families and friends as participants and judges. The competition’s goal was to showcase true stories and demonstrate how trainees had learned to organize content, get to the point, use humor appropriately and use personal power to persuade. The top scoring participant won a sizable gift card prize. Each person in the winning team won the right to personally persuade the Executive Marketing VP of some idea.
Participants’ stories came from rites of passage: birth, marriage, divorce, death, loss, illness, a mistake, an accident or achievement — and they contained a moral. Although daunted at first, participants came to understand how personal stories influence others. The judge teams came from the audience. The judging rules were that the story had to be true, on the theme of persuasion, within the 5-minute time frame, and that the audience could boo the judges, but not the participants. The audience also answered an anonymous question about persuasion, which was shared by the emcee while judges were scoring participants.
One senior manager said, “I’ve seen her present for years and she’s always decent. Today, she blew us out of the room!” From another, “What did I gain? CONFIDENCE.” A packaging director noted, “I’ll be a better communicator, make stronger relationships and partnerships, within the company and out. I’ll be a better leader for my team and make stronger connections with them. I want to have stronger connections with upper management, especially those I don’t see often.” Another stated, “A story tells something about you, but how you apply the learning, shows something about your character.” A senior global innovation manager described how a former boss told her she would “never be a marketer.” In response to her disappointment, she channeled her anger into offering to help people with projects in her target job area. In no time, she transferred departments and today outranks her former boss and through it she reveals her believe in herself, her “can do” attitude and her determination.
The company immediately expanded the training program to include additional executives.