Monday, October 18, 2010

Send it again: Memo to the boss on 8 reasons I need speaker training

(Editor's note: This week, my team and I are holding a retreat to plan for new initiatives, training and content for The Eloquent Woman, so I'm turning to the vault to share past posts you may have missed--which are still relevant. If you hesitate to ask your boss to support training you need in presentation and public speaking skills, you can draw from this popular post, which offers rationales any boss could love.  I hope you'll put this to use and attend my November 3 & 4 "Good on Your Feet" workshop--we have registrants from government agencies, nonprofits and a labor union, and I'd love to have you join us. Read on for the memo. -- Denise Graveline)

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.  It's a practical way to boost diversity, visibly.
  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.

Learn how to be a dynamic speaker in my next two-day workshop, Good on Your Feet: A dynamic speaking skills workshop, November 3 and 4 in Washington, DC. And if you subscribe to Step Up Your Speaking, the free monthly email newsletter from The Eloquent Woman, you'll get 25% off the workshop registration fee. Go here to subscribe...then become a fan of The Eloquent Woman on Facebook and join the conversation with thousands of other women (and men) about public speaking skills and confidence.