I recently gave a presentation to 10 CEOs on cutting edge competencies for the 21st century CEO. Intriguing topic to them personally, especially given the tenure of the current day CEO – half the number of years it was ten years ago.
During the presentation, there was hearty discussion, a little debate and a couple of suggestions for some challenges shared by individual CEOs. Afterward, when colleagues asked me if the talk was a success, I paused. I did the research, knew the material, presented it engagingly. It was well received but something was missing. So I asked myself whether I met my goals of the talk: building business relationships, negotiating new work. A little too early to tell.
I challenged myself to consider what would have made it more successful? I decided to do a little investigation and contacted 2 of the participants I knew well. They said the talk went very well but wasn’t exceptional, i.e., it didn’t leave them hanging on the edge of their chairs. They weren’t forced to consider a new way of thinking that was diametrically opposed to their own.
While I had consciously identified the goals of my presentation, I realized I hadn’t thoroughly explored the best methods to get there. My challenging and provoking them with new and different ways of thinking should have been a “no brainer” for me. The need for intense challenge and debate are key attributes of the typical CEO.
A great learning and critical reminder to fully consider the needs of the receiver whenever you communicate.