Client case: Internal Communication, 2017
A leading retail bank unveils its plan for change to their management. To deal with the reactions the same day, presentation time is cut by 70%. Can the top-managers explain the plan and motivate in super-short speeches?
The bank was about to communicate major structural changes during the yearly management community day. There was high risk to trigger anxiety and opposition in the management. In a few clicks, it would spread quickly throughout the entire company. Therefore, the internal communication team suggested to organize participative workshops to deal with the reactions. To make time for it, every top-executive would have to make their presentation in 18 minutes instead of the usual one hour. Imposing such a new format for presentations created new problems:
- The less-skilled speakers would appear even worse with short format.
- Some new top-managers never addressed such a large audience; the short format would increase their stress.
- The internal communication team were not in a position to advise their superiors during the preparation of the presentations.
In two to four individual coaching sessions per top-executive, my methodology helped:
- Unveil the gap between the intended and the perceived messages;
- Focus on content improvement (instead of fine-tuning slideshow, videos, quiz…);
- Reveal the missing ingredients (personal, meaningful stories in direct connection with the key messages, social intelligence, vision and other leadership specific ingredients);
- Select the tools (storytelling, speaking techniques, visuals) most consistent with the personal style of the speaker, his goal and the format;
- Film and voice record iterative dry-runs to build confidence and detect inconsistencies (nonverbal- and content- related);
- Advise on slideshow design limiting the slideshow versions to 3 on average.
- The top-executives appeared to speak as one team: the coaching gave a better coordination, which then translated into better consistency in messages and style across presentations.
- During and after the event, the attendees shared the key messages and positively engaged with the bank’s change.
- Satisfaction scores for the event were the best ever, with no speaker below 85/100.
- Clearer, shorter presentations made it easier for the management to cascade down the messages across all regions.