By Sandy Marshall, Consultant
Regardless of the size of your company, you’ve probably attended a big conference or corporate tour. You’ve heard the updates, calls to action, and excitement for growth in Q4. Communication in an enterprise-wide road show is no different than a political campaign, and the notion of developing local content to support global messaging and marketing is nothing new.
But as the pace of business increases, companies spend more time on big picture strategy while phoning-in the tactical roll-out, especially when delivering a key message in person. Nothing sucks more than hearing your manager say “Well, I guess this is the new direction, so let’s just get it done.”
Companies spend more time on big picture strategy while phoning-in the tactical roll-out.
This perception is easily avoidable with a few additional steps to connect geographies and points of view. If you’re already investing time and travel into live corporate updates, Great! But even if you’re not able to deliver critical messages in person, the same tenets of research and empathy apply to both live seminars and digital webinars.
Whether you’re planning or presenting (or both), here are a few key pillars to help make the most out of your next corporate road show.
- Know your audience.
A core tenet of improvisation is to play to the top of your intelligence: audiences are always, always, always one step ahead of you.
Everyone expects you to open with an inspirational quote. Instead, open the session by asking attendees what they’d like to accomplish by 5 pm. Learn what might be specifically relevant to people in Anaheim, Baltimore, and Cincinnati. Find ways to exceed expectations by being authentic, honest, and empathetic to real-world issues that go beyond the home office front door.
Sure, adjusting your agendas to weave-in local content takes more time, but what’s more important: clocking miles on the whistle stop tour or truly connecting with your constituents?
- Call it out.
Two words: Town and Forum. Every meeting is full of folks pretending to take notes on phones and tablets while really sneaking emails and doing actual work. Templated presentations from HQ won’t add value to an already busy day; addressing real and relevant issues while simultaneously inviting conversation will.
Think Dialogue over Monologue, especially during times of change or uncertainty. To make sure your message resonates beyond the final keynote, invest in an external facilitator, subject matter expert or event host who’s able to travel with your planning team. This helps create a safe and candid conversational space while building behind-the-scenes momentum from St. Louis to D.C.
- Own what happens.
Confidential to presenters & speakers: for some reason, when technical difficulties inevitably occur, there’s a time-honored tradition of blaming the crew at the sound board. Don’t do it! Take a moment, laugh it off, and ask for the footage to be included in your career blooper reel.
Ultimately, to make your message stick, you’ll need more than superficial football metaphors replacing Cowboys with Vikings.