Teachable moments

I had a major presentation to our Board this week (below) where my objective was to provide them a with a status update (giving them a sense of what I had inherited as the new director of communications); what the next 12 months would include, and what work was ongoing. The presentation as you can see is one rife with visual metaphors and thin on text.

There is a method to this madness as I’ve discovered, sometimes when presenting to senior leadership, presentations need to be positioned as a teachable moment, not just pure status updates or the presentation of metrics.  Some of my presentation speaks to the necessary steps we, as an organization will need to undertake to improve our brand, credibility and reputation. What became very clear to me is that ‘brand’, for example,  is an amorphous word that has myriad interpretations – some of which might even be accurate.

I have found it useful to find common ground, setting the terms of reference and clearing up misconceptions about what I mean in a presentation by being specific about, what I mean. When I say ‘brand’ this is what I mean and as you’ll see, this is what I ‘don’t mean’. My presentation was quick, used visual clues and stressed important subjects. It’s a robust and complex task – highlighting what was wrong, how I was going to fix it and what we were doing in the mean time – but the presentation worked. By taking the opportunity to be clear, specific and purposeful with my language I believe the job was done well and wrapped up in a fairly precise timeline.

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