Who doesn’t love a beautiful, well-crafted and graphically-rich presentation? We all do, right? A great presentation can immediately light up a room, uplift your mood, and motivate you to perform better. However, good presentation skills are hard to find, but not hard to cultivate. If we build a culture of good presentations in our organisations, our productivity can instantly go for an upswing. But how do we cultivate an organisation culture that thrives on great presentations? This is exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article.
Typical resistance within large organizations
Whenever we have spoken to any established Fortune 1000 organization on Do you have a professional presentation culture within your organization?, many of them have given us responses which reflect their resistance to change or an old style of working.
We have a design team – We have an in-house team comprising 15 people and many of them also know PowerPoint & can craft good PPTs for us so it solves our purpose.
I will do it my way – Sales managers of some large MNCs are extremely resistant to change their typical age old style of making a presentation. If questioned, they have the power to obtain special approvals from the top bosses.
Lack of sensitization – Companies neither spread awareness, training or campaigns to sensitize employees nor motivate them to make good decks, everytime they do it.
No Mandate from Management – Many employees comply only to the mandates which come from the top management and if the top leadership is not sensitive towards this idea, its hard for companies to be aligned as well.
Dependency on internal team – We are not comfortable sharing our details outside and hence we will design in-house, whatever we can.
Effort v/s outcome – Many short-sighted teams do not look at the bigger picture or long term impact and hence cannot comprehend the impact of good presentations.
No Budgets –We often hear this response where teams highlight the fact that they do not have budgets to spend anything in this direction.
It is an expense affair – Organizations still see this as an expense or a cost overhead rather than accepting it as a norm to have beautiful presentations for meaningful conversation & right absorption of the information.
In-Flight Attitude – Many people keep presentations typically as a last thing for the day or an in-flight activity just before the meeting making it impossible to create a visually compelling presentation.
Keeping organization perspectives in mind, we devised a strategy that can really help large organizations develop a deeply ingrained good presentation culture within the system, where presentations as a subject will be better understood as an effective communication mechanism rather than a NOT-SO-NECESSARY design act only.
How to Cultivate a Culture of Good Presentations
The entire process can be summed up into 4 stages. These are the four stages of creating a presentation culture in your organisation:
Stage 1: Attention (Finding Low Hanging Fruits)
At this stage, we want to get attention of the huge team we have and find people who are actually interested in what we have to talk about.
Plan a Research – Conduct an internal research by interviewing the Sales and marketing representatives from your organisation.
Get the findings out – Try get a sense of how presentations are being used the part of their usual working process. Give them a comprehensive questionnaire to fill out in order to identify their key challenges and issues. The idea here is to have complete clarity of their work journeys.
Analyze the results – When you analyse their work journey from this perspective, you are bound to unearth some common interfaces where presentations are a mandatory tool for communication & discover issues which people face while developing them or in their effectiveness.
Plan a pilot – Once the attention is drawn towards an issue, a proposal to conduct a pilot exercise can be carried out with a small test user group (Around 2 people). A pilot will act as a true internal story which can be used to motivate others. Since, the group is small, impact is measurable & agile methodology can be deployed.
Stage 2: Interest (Lead by Example)
After developing a case study out of the previous exercise, it’s important to get everybody on board, and on the same page regarding the presentation culture.
Start Sensitizing Larger Groups – The next phase is to spread awareness. Sensitizing all employees on the need for a good presentation culture is utmost before beginning the change. Presentation enhancement can only be experienced first hand in order to feel the difference.
Market the success case – Make the difference visible in the outcome analysis of the case study, that managers, consultant will be genuinely interested in creating wonderful presentations that tell a compelling story. For this, it needs to be marketed right to the entire sales team
Provide opportunity to a limited group – Spreading awareness about how a good PPT can change the course of your sales pitch and its outcome, many professionals will feel the need to learn good presentation skills. For them, an upcoming learning series can be announced, the contents of which can be surveyed to find out areas that need intervention, and hence should be included in the course. Offer the trainings to a smaller group only instead of rolling out the organization wide plan
Train them on Purpose instead of Skills – Managers must be trained on creating presentations that truly work, and not just copy-pasting highlights on a slideshow.
Once they know that presentation was something they were missing out for long, they will find ways to improve skills through self-learning or will participate actively in the initiatives being rolled out for them. Do not expect everyone to be with you at this stage.
Stage 3: Desire (Teaching How to Fish)
Developing E-Roadmap – A digital learning path must be defined with 4 to 8 weeks of self help tracks that employees can access through a digital courseware.
Byte-Sized Learning – Offer e-books on tips and tricks for great presentations, and share best practices through an emailer series.
Advocate & bring in the Policy Mandate- A presentation mandate is equally important to measure the effectiveness of the learning. Set guidelines for design team, modernize templates, and define dos and don’ts for everyone to follow while making a presentation.
Recognize & Reward – To reward good efforts, a Presentation Champs Hunt can be rolled out or Internal Presentation Awards can be organised.
Stage 4: Action (Practice leads to perfection)
It’s easy to learn something new in theory, but actually putting your learning to practice requires more effort. Maintaining continuity once this culture is created is also a humongous task.
Updating the courseware – Not everyone in the organization needs same level of presentation skills. So, Curriculum must be created updated from time to time, as per advancements in technology.
Make it the part of Induction – New joinee engagement is another area which needs to be taken care of.
To make it a success, your presentation culture must be an ongoing learning experience. Simply putting it into a document and rolling it out on papers won’t help. Active engagement, regular updates and innovations will make it a truly worthwhile experience for your employees, and spell success for your organisation. We are happy to help you in rolling out this campaign successfully within your organization to help you achieve your true potential.