Nothing is worse than settling into a meeting and watching a 50-page powerpoint that sucks the life out of you. Yet we continue the same behavior day after day until we realize this is absolutely insane. I’m not saying throw the baby out with the bathwater because we need some platform to convey visual information. However, there needs to be a better approach or you will kill your audience with details and fail to get the outcome or influence you seek.

The fact is, this generation and quite frankly mine as well (yes, I’m a Gen X), need information quickly. We need information to pass judgment on whether we’re going to watch more or swipe by within 5 seconds. What is missing from today’s communication in business is short concise messaging with a hook, a problem, a “how to guide” and a call to action to take a decision or engage in conversation. Our business communication style should take lessons from social media to build trust and ultimately influence.

But we’re not here to emulate social media influencers when it comes to business, but might we consider LEAN (waste removal and process efficiency) as a means to have more influence?

I see you nodding your head, so let me show you what I mean:

  • Start with the Challenge or Opportunity and why we are here: Audiences need context to know they’re in the right place. In social media, this is the hook. You need to prepare your audience and build trust that you will take them down a path.
  • Explain the impact or urgency for the topic and that you have the solution: When we express the magnitude of the issue (like marketers do), people will tune in and start to think if this applies to them and cultivate their need to continue to listen.
  • Show them the path forward: Based on your data or visualization of the issue, show them your approach and conclusions to bring people along to agree or engage in conversation to enrich the solution
  • Make it easy to implement: Show them what is needed to implement or the gaps that need to be closed in order to move the conversation forward. This gives people choices to push a button and say “yes” or “approve” or enable them to take the topic forward
  • Call to action: If people haven’t already discussed next steps, then be prescriptive as to the next step or action needed by others so that you leave the presentation with something.

Here’s an example of a project I recently asked to get involved in:

  • There’s a significant need to evolve our platform to be more efficient and competitive with our competition. Currently we have a process that is outdated and needs to evolve to help our teams through the product development process.
  • Currently, the teams are focused on siloed work without understanding the interactions of their work and there are no checks and balances for which at the end of the design cycle, we are late and the quality is below industry standard.
  • We’ve provided a framework to standardize our work and systemize it in such a way that provides full transparency and checks between the functional areas to achieve our desired outcome. By piloting this in our test product line  you can see an improvement in quality and on time performance.
  • If we can close the gap and implement this system that will automate the work within a function and also cross functionally, we believe we will surpass our competitors if we can get your approval by next week.
  • I will convene a follow up meeting with the stakeholders to review the details and guide the approval to realize its value by 3Q24.

I just delivered this message most likely in 3-5 minutes max through a careful selection of words and phrases that connect in a concise way and make it easy for people to engage. The key word is “MESSAGE” vs. sharing information. Lean removes wasteful words and enables efficient delivery of information while we craft words that connect emotionally with people for action.

For me, this is easy and has served me well.

For others, their delivery is painful and a waste of others’ time. In the process, it kils their brand and maybe yours if they work for you.

Can you coach this delivery method?  I do hope the framework can help.

But if you don’t have the capability yourself to do this or coach others, wouldn’t it be a courageous idea to gain back time with this approach?

The decision is yours to ratchet up your influence. What will it be?

Let me partner with you to review your team’s messaging and I’ll give you advice on how to hone messaging for lean and effective communication.

For the unfiltered, off the cuff discussion about this topic, please listen to my podcast airing on 1/25/24 and view the video so you see how I really feel about this topic!.

If you are a CEO who would love a partner to help you with a business challenge, be your #2 or help develop the team of tomorrow, let us partner in 2024.