As individuals move higher in an organization, two phenomena occur. The first is the belief that they are pretty good communicators. The top person in an organization usually assumes that he or she is the best communicator of all (that’s why he or she is at the top). The second is that their skin gets thinner; meaning, of course, that fools are less readily suffered the more senior an individual tends to get. Avoid using the word training with senior people. They don’t believe they need any. Always use the word coaching. Senior people know they can always use some coaching.This advice also goes for senior staff people.
There are two techniques I use to get to the busy boss:
Catch Him or Her Doing Something Right or Wrong
Routinely begin videotaping and audio taping presentations by very senior people. It doesn’t matter what the presentation is about; you need the videotape. Analyze the presentations for things the executive or manager did that you like and things that he or she could improve on. Then assemble clips of video or audio with examples of something he or she did that you really like and something that you can make one or two constructive suggestions about to improve.
Make an appointment to talk with the executive or manager. Show them something interesting that he or she can devote 15 minutes to and learn something useful about himself or herself. Stick to 15 minutes. Get up and go when you’re done. Resist the urge to do anything more than I have suggested.
One of the reasons bosses hate people like us is because, once we start criticizing, we can’t stop. Comment on or correct only one negative. Remember the cardinal rule of coaching: For any one negative you mention, you must also find three to five positive things to comment on in order to repair the damage.
Part II Talks about my second technique: Lukaszewski’s Twelve Quick Performance Tips for Spokespersons, when there’s no time and no coach.
By James E. Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, chairman and president, The Lukaszewski Group Inc., is one of public relations most frequently quoted and prolific authors/crisis communication management consultants. He helps prepare spokespersons for crucial public appearances and local and network news interviews including “20-20,” “60 Minutes,” “Dateline NBC,” “Nightline,” financial analyst meetings, and legislative and congressional testimony. Sign up for Jim’s free Executive Action eNewsletter.
Join Lukaszewski for his teleseminars Media Training for Media Trainers: Improve Your Effectiveness and a Media Trainer and Coach and Building Community Relationships: Overcome Opposition and Gain Community Consent.