Being an engaging speaker and presenter
16 April, 2018
It can oftentimes be important to train or educate employees on something that may be uninteresting to them. In addition, while discussing the business, engineers that like to build things may also lose focus, resulting in them not understanding the high level needs of the products they are building. This can result in suboptimal day-to-day decision-making for them.
Similar to acting, there are multiple techniques and strategies to perform as an engineering manager. A "method acting" approach, in which you aspire to complete emotional identification with the topic you're presenting, is a great start, particularly if you find yourself getting easily passionate about things. The more passionate you are, the more likely this will read to your audience. I try to use this approach with most presentations I give, finding a way to actually care about the content at hand. This has been easy for product and business success-related topics. That said, you may at times have to present on a topic that is dry or uninteresting to you. For me, I find that presenting to new hires a description of what our organization does can be a challenge to sound as passionate about. In these situations, I employ techniques I've learned from my Voice Performance degree, including "pregnant pauses", playing with volume levels, using humor, eye contact, smiles, and asking questions of my audience. Finally, in the spirit of generating trust and focus for those that are listening, I aim to share vulnerably wherever I can, in hopes of generating oxytocin in them which will make it more likely that they'll be emotionally engaged in what I'm saying. This isn't always easy, but practice makes perfect.
Being an engaging presenter, storyteller, or speaker can be done by either emotionally connecting to the material or using "acting hacks" to engage your audience. If you can do both of these things and also be vulnerable with your audience, you'll be most likely to engage them.
Marc LeBrun, VP of Engineering at Flow Kana and a co-creator of the Apple Mac, delves into the importance of understanding different personality types in the workplace and explains why the traditional Golden Rule -- treat others as you want to be treated -- doesn’t always apply.
VP Engineering at Flow Kana
Marc LeBrun, VP Engineering at Flow Kana, shows the value in establishing a collaborative relationship with a withdrawn but highly-capable employee. We can then use that bridge to draw the person back into the team and elevate everyone’s performance.
VP Engineering at Flow Kana
Kowsheek Mahmood, Principal and CTO at ArchetypeTech, explains how he adapted an ineffective team by determining and implementing team-evaluation processes to better align the team on product delivery.
Principal & CTO at ArchetypeTech
Viacheslav Bessonov, Chief Technology Officer at Algalon Capital, outlines how he improved communication internally - with his fully distributed team, while also improving communication with the customer - located across various time zones.
Chief Technology Officer at Algalon Capital
Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Management Director at Payfit, talks about how teams need to focus more time on building the right things and how to keep doing it with scale.
Product Management Director at PayFit
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