First, we find out what you have coming up.
For some people, it’s a major presentation. They’re making an important sales pitch, they’re presenting to the Board, maybe to investors, or to staff, and they know there’s a lot at stake. For others, it may be an interview for a new job or a promotional interview in their existing role, and in the current climate they know that competition is fierce. Some people are dealing with interpersonal issues, giving feedback to a colleague, or handling a difficult negotiation. Some are representing their organisations in the media and know that the company’s reputation could be affected by how they perform on the radio or TV.
The situations may seem quite different, but all of the people coming to us have key things in common. They have a real piece of communication coming up. The outcome is important, for their reputation, for how they are perceived and for their business.
We then find out what you want to achieve.
Once we know the context, we then find out what you want to achieve. Some people for example may not have done as well as expected in a recent interview and know they didn’t do themselves justice. Some may have missed out on a major piece of business. They may have had feedback from a superior. Some are simply nervous about presentations, no matter how senior they are, and want to overcome their fear.
All want to enhance their communication. They recognise that how they come across is vitally important: how clearly they make their point, how comfortable they seem, how well they listen, how succinctly they answer tough questions, and ultimately how well they develop relationships.
Next, we get people to do it.
Switch on the lights and the cameras and put them through a real media interview in our TV studio. Get them to stand at a podium or at our board table and give the presentation they intend to give next week. Interview them for the job. No more talking – now it’s ‘let’s see what you currently do’. What surprises almost everyone is how quickly it becomes real.
We record it.
When you’ve done it, we play it back on screen.
The assessment with our consultants is where the real magic happens.
In the first couple of minutes, most people looking at themselves are preoccupied with the physical things – the number of ‘ums’ and ‘ahms’, poor eye contact, too many slides, or a nervous delivery.
We address all of these but as the assessment progresses we get people to focus on far more crucial issues. For example, who are your audience? What points are you trying to make to them? Have you made them? Would they understand it, or care? How well have you explained your points and backed them up? Have you used the best language, or have you inadvertently caused offence? Do you come across confidently or do you look nervous and unprepared? Ultimately, would your audience want to give you contract if it was a sales presentation, or give you the promotion if it was an interview, or would they be reassured by you if it was a media interview?
Almost all of our clients answer these questions themselves without any prompting from us. They recognise that what they are seeing and hearing on screen is not the best they are capable of. For many, it’s an eye-opener: ‘So that’s how I come across’ – and they realise that if they had done this training before, they might have had different outcomes in the past.
But most importantly of all, when clients see themselves on screen they recognise that they are currently doing some or many things right but just not enough of them, and not in the right order. And this is where we focus our attention on people’s ability. Everyone can do it, but may need help with understanding the best structure or the best approach, or simply may not know how to manage nerves and anxiety.
We give you some simple structures.
Once we have completed our assessment, we give people some simple structures for interviews, for presentations, for talks or for negotiations. And it makes sense to them instantly. They realise how, with a different logic and a different approach they could do the same piece of communication in a very different way.
Then, we get you to do it again.
We often then give people ten or fifteen minutes to re-prepare the same scenario and ask them to do it again. We record the new version and play it back. For almost everyone, the transformation is startling.
People see themselves only a few hours later give a comfortable, confident, and clear piece of communication. Their delivery, their eye-contact, their language – all now in a new league. Of course they now recognise that they may have to go away and do some more homework, some more research and some more rehearsal. But already they can see how in the future they can present themselves in a very different way.
The real proof for our clients is in outcomes and results. They give us feedback and tell us how well they have done at interviews, how successful their sales presentations have been. Clients here in Ireland, in the U.K. and in the U.S ask us to train managers in how to communicate with staff. They ask us to coach their senior leadership teams. They ask us to work with their sales forces because they see that what we do adds real value and can be measured on the bottom line.
Our clients stay with us. What we do works and that is why Carr Communications continues to be the best-known and longest-running communications company in Ireland.