Product details

By continuing to use our site you consent to the use of cookies as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.
You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them.
Management article
-
Reference no. SMR47401
Published by: MIT Sloan School of Management
Published in: "MIT Sloan Management Review", 2006
Length: 3 pages

Abstract

Ask any chief executive officer or speaking consultant what the most important aspect of public speaking is, and they will most likely say, ‘Know your audience.’ But according to the authors of strategic leadership consulting firm Park Li Group, too much attention has been focused on who is sitting in the audience, and not enough attention is given to how those people engage with the speaker. In their 2005 working paper, ‘I Understand All That … But What’s the Strategy?’ the authors draw on survey data from executives and their audiences throughout the world to show that people have distinctly different ways of engaging with presentations about strategy. The authors say that each audience member will emphasize one of four primary focuses: (1) data; (2) structure; (3) vision; and (4) the human element - and that effective speakers are those who integrate all four aspects into their presentations. The key to success, say the authors, is to always assume all four types of listeners are present in every audience. Identify your default mode and leverage those skills as much as you can, but address the needs of the other types of listeners as well. A traditional structure might include the following: (1) begin by showing the data. Research shows that data-driven listeners are the most difficult to satisfy; (2) follow the data with a cohesive framework in order to organize the data - this prevents the message from getting lost in a disorganized mass of numbers; (3) once you’ve established the framework, turn to the destination - paint a picture of the long-term view of the strategy and where the company is headed; and finally (4) finish by emphasizing the organization, its people and its values. Those seeking to be inspired want to leave the room that way, and other types of presentations may cloud the message.

About

Abstract

Ask any chief executive officer or speaking consultant what the most important aspect of public speaking is, and they will most likely say, ‘Know your audience.’ But according to the authors of strategic leadership consulting firm Park Li Group, too much attention has been focused on who is sitting in the audience, and not enough attention is given to how those people engage with the speaker. In their 2005 working paper, ‘I Understand All That … But What’s the Strategy?’ the authors draw on survey data from executives and their audiences throughout the world to show that people have distinctly different ways of engaging with presentations about strategy. The authors say that each audience member will emphasize one of four primary focuses: (1) data; (2) structure; (3) vision; and (4) the human element - and that effective speakers are those who integrate all four aspects into their presentations. The key to success, say the authors, is to always assume all four types of listeners are present in every audience. Identify your default mode and leverage those skills as much as you can, but address the needs of the other types of listeners as well. A traditional structure might include the following: (1) begin by showing the data. Research shows that data-driven listeners are the most difficult to satisfy; (2) follow the data with a cohesive framework in order to organize the data - this prevents the message from getting lost in a disorganized mass of numbers; (3) once you’ve established the framework, turn to the destination - paint a picture of the long-term view of the strategy and where the company is headed; and finally (4) finish by emphasizing the organization, its people and its values. Those seeking to be inspired want to leave the room that way, and other types of presentations may cloud the message.

Related