A growing consulting firm providing research to the pharmaceutical industry contacted me to train its researchers to be better presenters.
Unlike some of their competitors, they had a policy that only those who did the research could present it to clients. Other firms chose a different business model: they hired researchers to do research, and sales people to present it.
Insisting that research be presented by the researchers meant that the firm had to help its highly analytical personnel overcome their reluctance to stand in front of groups and engage with them on both strategic and tactical issues pertaining to their business.
The leadership of the firm knew that clients did not read written reports. Instead, they waited for the meeting; they waited for the presentation, for someone to show up and bring the material to life.
This meant that the perceived value of their information products depended on the experience the clients had at the meetings with the researchers. It was imperative to the business that presentations to clients were both substantive and professionally delivered.
To increase the value of those meetings, and to ensure that clients acquired a thorough understanding of the issues, they chose to hire Sims Wyeth & Co. to develop the researchers and turn them into more effective communicators.
We introduced our program called "Presenting for Results", a highly experiential and interactive learning process in which clients master a number of essential communication competencies:
• Customizing information for a particular group
• Making clarity out of complexity
• Engaging the audience in conversation
• And leading them to accept the recommendation
The program begins with a series of exercises designed to help the participants understand the importance of defining a question that needs to be answered, demonstrating a credible and rigorous research process that leads to a statistically relevant conclusion, and then leading the client to consider next steps.
The client firm called this process--- "What? - So What? - Now What?"
The program also includes a thorough workout to strengthen the delivery skills of participants. To increase the professional stature and credibility, participants learn how to master their body language, use their voices effectively, project confidence and belief in the subject matter, and approach the audience as an equal.
We videotape many of the exercises, provide feedback and coaching, engage in debate on various issues, and give everyone multiple chances to demonstrate increased confidence and new, more effective behaviors, such as the ability to facilitate discussion in large group settings.
We have had this firm as a client for 12 years and continue to support them as they hire new researchers, prepare for high stakes presentations with potential new clients, and drive the value of their brand deeper into their client organizations through the skill and professionalism of their researchers/ presenters.