Friday, May 8, 2009

memo to boss: 8 reasons I need training

In these tough economic times, you may be hesitating to ask your boss for training in public speaking and presentation skills. Here's my "memo to the boss" about why investing in speaker training's one of the best professional development investments you can make. (If you're a boss, it's even more important for leaders--so consider this a reminder list to yourself, in that case.)
  1. Right now, we can't afford to miss out on opportunities to make our case. I want to be sure I'm as effective as possible so we can continue to hold our own in winning [the budget fight/new donations/an increase in funding/the right to name our own cuts/the legislation we need/a chance to improve our base].
  2. Few training options are as versatile as speaker training, which can help me in one-on-one meetings, group meetings, in-house presentations, external communications, speeches, investor or donor presentations, customer relations, chance encounters with the CEO in an elevator, and much more. I'll be briefer and more organized when I'm communicating with you, too.
  3. Women often get fewer opportunities in public speaking, so I need the training even more. Consider it a diversity training, if you will. (Need some backup? Explain why women today have trouble getting on the program at major conferences, and have done for centuries.)
  4. If you want to advance more women to management roles, public speaking skills are essential for leadership and influence, internally and externally.
  5. I'm interested in advancing and have identified this as a skill I need to develop. I think this will help me in supervising, communicating and representing our division and company internally and externally.
  6. I'd specifically like to improve skills in [choose one, many or all]: extemporaneous speaking, handling questions and answers, media interviews, what I wear when I present, using humor in presentations, vocalizing, using gestures, delivering a long speech, delivering a short speech, using slides and technology effectively, working on my confidence as a speaker, getting ready for [insert specific major presentation or speech here], persuasive speaking.
  7. I want to find new ways to incorporate our organization's message in our external and internal presentations. We need to be more consistent and effective, and I'd like to develop ways to do that, starting with my own presentations.
  8. Really, our entire team could do a better job presenting. I'd like to be the first to try, and give you some suggestions for what we can do better as a group.
When it comes to professional development, most managers welcome it when you actively identify your skills-building needs. Why wait for someone else to define them? Here's my bonus tip: Investing in your speaking skills first makes it easier for you to make your case for developing other skills later. For information on my individual or group coaching or training, email me at inf0[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz.