Sunday, May 26, 2013

Check Your Nonverbal Communication, BEFORE You Speak!

It’s generally agreed that a significant amount of what is communicated between people is conveyed nonverbally. Research in the 1950s and 1960s established nonverbal communication as an acknowledged science, and today studies continue on the differences among cultures and between sexes in body language: gestures, eye contact, touch, facial expression, posture, space and clothing (what you wear).

Knowledge of how you communicate nonverbally is especially important if you’re a woman. First, let’s get out of the way the fact that a woman, regardless of her culture, is often viewed with sexual overtones by a man. If you accept that premise, you’re wise to consider carefully what you wear when you’re presenting. Equally important is how you stand, gesture, and use your body in talking with a group of men and women.

How you hold yourself and use your body has a lot to do with how commanding and charismatic your presence will be, as well as how powerfully your message will come across to an audience. If you’re uncomfortable with who you are, it will make others uncomfortable too!

Here are a few tips to raise your comfort factor.

  • Align yourself from head to toe. Stand with your feet 12 inches apart and distribute your weight evenly on each foot.
  • Dress should be determined by the image you wish to convey. Are you a woman lawyer in a courtroom? Wear a blue or black suit, Are you a motivational speaker? Wear a red blazer so you’ll become a visual point for your audience.
  • If you’re a speaker on a panel, don’t slouch or hunch over in your chair. Lean into the speaker’s table. Answer questions by looking straight at the questioner, and remember to speak up so you can be heard. 
  • Exude confidence. Remember a time when you gave an impressive presentation. Recall that moment and carry that feeling with you. Your innate body language will help convey conviction to your message.

If you practice articulating your confidence nonverbally, you’ll capture your audience before you say a word!

Have any insight or questions about nonverbal communication? Put it in the comments!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Top 10 Rules for an Equity Road Show

When coaching a management team that's raising equity for a private or public offering, I always first work individually and then pull them together for coaching as a team.

To illustrate, a company’s IPO roadshow is a chance for investors to meet the management team and watch them pitch the investment opportunity. Delivering the message is a rite of passage and an important exercise for management to perfect the art of selling, coordinate roles and answer questions effectively.

And, interested investors gain information about the company and valuable insight into a team from watching them deliver their story, interact with each other and field questions. How the management team persuades and performs can provide a window into how the company will execute going forward.  

Here are some tips to ensure successful team presentations.
  1. Work as a team. Share the spotlight. Investors don’t want to invest in a one-man/woman band.
  2. Practice as a team to develop a smooth cadence to present a seamless company story.
  3. Manage Q&A. Identify likely investor questions and prepare answers. Decide who will answer a particular question. Never try to wing it or bluster through, as investors know when you’re not telling the truth or your answer is tentative.
  4. Memorize the presentation and slide order.
  5. Know all the parts in case you have to fill in for a team member. (I still remember a CFO who got sick in Amsterdam and couldn’t make several meetings!)
  6. Practice Q&A etiquette. Remember that there are no dumb questions. Always answer a question with enthusiasm and as if it’s the first time you’ve ever been asked.
  7. Listen carefully to questions and think before you answer. If you prepared adequately, the answer is in your head waiting to be downloaded.
  8. Ears have lousy memories, so never refer back to the presentation to make a point (i.e., “As you may recall, I went over this information in the roadshow.”).
  9. Be prepared. Research the attendees before the meeting.
  10. Set a goal. Close every meeting and get the order!