Posted at 7:00 am
Q. How important is persuasion to a leader or manager? For its customers and suppliers and for its employees?
R. We have experienced a significant paradigm shift in just a few years. In the past, the mechanics of business were very simple. On the one hand there was a need to sell and on the other hand there was a need to produce. We had to seduce one side and deliver on the other. Persuasion is reserved for the client and is operationalized apart from the rest. But today, we don’t have everything: resources, ideas, raw materials, etc. Organizers are constantly pitching (Editor’s Note: Performance). Pitching to attract customers or employees, selling ideas externally and internally, pitching to convince a board of directors, pitching on social networks to build a good reputation for your company…
So how do you go about it? In a pitch, you have to persuade and persuade. Persuasion is a rational, Cartesian task. Persuasion is about feelings, emotions: you have to take people with you.
Managers and leaders must know how to create this subtle mix. The challenge is that we often assume that other people think like us, that they share our enthusiasm, our wisdom, our courage or our energy. This is wrong. People don’t see things the way you do, and you have to learn how to talk to everyone.
Q. What are the keys to becoming a good leader in terms of speaking and arguing (and where to start)?
R. The main thing is not to start with yourself. When we think of “speaking,” we already see ourselves rehearsing our speech in front of the mirror. This is an error I see often. You should start by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes. What are the needs and concerns of the people in front of you? Do they fully understand all the technical aspects you have covered? What powers and interests do they have for your project? Do they have fears and doubts?
The idea is to prepare as much as possible, training to “feel the room” as an artist does on stage.
Then you should prepare as much as possible. Organize your reasoning, your arguments, make your pitch “take off” by mobilizing your audience’s imagination… and above all don’t forget to “land” with logical and concrete points. Also, you must prepare visual documentation to support your comments. It’s like a set for your game. A watchword: keep it simple, keep it short, hit it hard. Warning: All this preparation should not turn into a monologue. You have to improve. And the more prepared you are, the more unexpectedly available you will be. This combination will give you a palpable confidence, very reassuring to your audience.
Q. What inspired you to write the book? Nobody cares what you say ?
R. I spent my career in an advertising agency where you spend your time pitching. We develop very good reflexes, but also very bad ones. Why? Because we only rely on people’s natural talent, assuming it’s natural. This is wrong. And this is wrong everywhere. I have trained entire cohorts of innovative SMEs, chambers of commerce, various and diverse incubators. And everywhere, I saw beautiful stories told so poorly. The problem is that no one is trained in this exercise.
Of course, there are already books on the subject, but they are American, and public speaking is a cultural exercise. So I decided to do what I know how to do: share knowledge, give birth to ideas, make the idea clear and give everything an exciting look. At Perrier Jablonski, we have given hundreds of trainings and workshops. This book is the result of that experience. It’s the culmination of thousands of hours spent with clients. I have chosen examples, parables, exercises and reflections to compose this book. My ambition is clear: I want to help Quebec companies to be bolder and more creative. To achieve this, they must learn to present themselves well and present their ideas. This book seeks to contribute to this work.