This week, I co-presented a webinar with Jocelyn Bérard called Change Agility: Mastering Constant Change.
We gave a similar keynote presentation at the Canadian Society for Training and Development (CSTD) Conference in November. Although the content was similar, the format was very different. The biggest change was that we couldn’t see any of the over 500 participants.
In many ways, webinars are easier to lead than in-person presentations: you can use your notes, you are sitting down and you don’t have to think about your gestures.
There are also some challenges with this format: vocal mistakes are more noticeable, any background noise is a distraction and the only way to convey emotions is through your voice.
Technical risks are just as big. Fortunately, we had Sarah managing IT and production. She flawlessly managed the communication software, emceeing, polling questions and choreography.
What I loved most was the partnership the three of us shared. Like any productions, it takes a well-coordinated team to make them work well.
Here are some tips on how to partner on a presentation:
- Write a script―it improves flow and leaves little to chance
- Listen and be open to your partners’ recommendations―it leads to better quality and personal growth
- Show up well-rehearsed―this is a given for trust-building and ability to perform
- Arrive very early―remove a risk that would let down your audience and partners
- Practice as a team―co-presentations are like dances: you must be in step with your partner for them to look good
- Focus your practice time on transitions―hand-offs have the highest risk of going wrong
- Know the technology―Sarah was the expert, but she needed to educate us on its fine points for the recording to work well
- Discuss what could go wrong―contingency plans lead to fast corrections
- Have an sense of humour―it builds and communicates rapport
- Eat together―I remember Neil Peart, of the band Rush, talking about the importance of sharing meals with his band mates (Jocelyn shared his lunch with me twice!)
The presentation went well and as planned. We had a great time interacting with participants and ourselves. When we finished our closing comments and the recording ended, my first thought was ‘when would we get the opportunity to partner again?’ A partnership doesn’t get any better than this.
Last week, I presented at the Elevating Results conference. The audience was a good mix of private and public sector leaders and students.
The conference closed with a presenters’ panel discussion. Questions had been submitted in advance along with ones taken from the floor.
It was exciting to be part of this group. All of my fellow presenters were highly-accomplished experts in their fields:
- Ryan Walter, NHL hockey star; author of Hungry and Fueling Your Best Game; President at Abbotsford Heat Hockey Ltd.
- Lauren Friese, President and Founder at Talent Egg; awarded Top 100 Canada’s Most Powerful Women by WXN, and many other business awards
- Jocelyn Bérard, Author of Accelerating Leadership Development; VP Leadership and Business Solutions – International at Global Knowledge
- Jason Atkins, CEO at 360incentives, winner second in the 2013 ‘Best Workplaces in Canada’ awards
- Jamie Allison, President and Founder at Epitome and conference MC
Someone from the audience asked about our leadership philosophies. Ryan finished his answer by mentioning that “He didn’t care if someone liked him or what he did.” He wished them well anyway.” He said it with such confidence and conviction.
The comment struck me and after the panel I asked Ryan when he came to this conclusion. He said that through his years in hockey and the constant feedback you get during them, he realized that to be great you have to focus on what you have to do and not worry about what people think of you.
As I was driving home, I asked myself, “If you didn’t care about what people thought of you would you do anything differently?” Part of a change manager’s role is to call it when you see individuals or teams doing things that risk the success of their transitions, regardless of how unpopular or cross-cultural it is. It’s your job, responsibility and duty. But would I do it differently?
My question really was, “Are you not doing things because you want to be liked?” I couldn’t think of anything I would have done differently but I thought long and hard. Perhaps the lesson is that you need to keep testing yourself to make sure you are doing what you need to do. That sounds like a good leadership philosophy.