When you give a great speech, it can live on forever

When you give a great speech, it can live on forever

Image Credit: David Erickson

One of the primary IT manager skills that an IT manager needs to have is to be able to communicate with others. There are a lot of ways to go about doing this (email anyone?); however, one of the most effective happens when you give a speech. Yeah, yeah – I fully understand that many of us would rather burst into flames than stand in front of a room and try to give a speech. However, it’s because this is such an effective form of communication that it is worth our time to get good at doing this.

Making Sure To Tell Your Story Correctly

Every speech that we give that is successful has stories in it. That’s what your audience wants to hear – what problems you and your team have faced, how you went about solving them, and what the final outcome was. When you are getting ready to tell one of your stories, your IT manager training may make you tempted to try to use a story telling technique that you’ve heard someone else use in the past. Don’t do this! What will happen is that it will come across as being unnatural for you and your audience won’t be able to connect with you.

Know How To Work Your Crowd

I get it – very few of us actually enjoy going through the process of standing in front of an audience and then trying to hold their attention for 30 or 60 minutes. One secret that professional speakers us is to show up early when they are going to be giving a speech. They use this time to meet and chat with people who are going to be in their audience. Think of this as a form of IT team building. This way when they start to give their speech, they are not talking to a room full of strangers. Instead it’s people that they already know and the audience will be filled with friendly faces.

Remember: It’s Not All About You

Finally, sometimes we care just a bit too much about what we’ll be talking about. We are so concerned about how we are going to be able to convince our audience to care what we will be talking about that we allow ourselves to get all wrapped up in it and we end up doing a very poor job of delivering our speech. Instead of doing this, what we need to do is to realize that our audience will probably love to hear our message – why else would they be in the audience? Thinking this way allows us to have a conversation with our audience and prevents us from over thinking it.

What All Of This Means For You

Even in this wired digital age in which we are now living, it turns out that having the ability to deliver an effective speech is a critical IT manager skill. No, this may not be something that we look forward to doing; however, it is a skill that we need to master.

The next time that we find ourselves standing in front of an audience, we need to remember to tell our story correctly. Every speech has a story and when we tell ours we need to do it in a natural way that fits with our personality. In order to make our speech go better, we need to arrive early and take the time to mix with the crowd before we take the stage. Finally, realize that whatever you’ll be talking about is of interest to your audience and so make it more like a conversation and less like a speech.

The really good news when it comes to giving a speech is that if you can master this skill, it will last you for your entire career. It will also set you off from other IT managers who have not yet mastered this critical skill. The next time you are asked to give a speech, view it as an opportunity not to be missed!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How much time do you think that you should spend getting ready for your next speech?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As an IT manager, one of your most important IT manager skills is the ability to effectively communicate with your IT team. There are a lot of different ways that we go about doing this, but one of the most popular ones is to give a presentation to our team. The problem with this is that despite all of the IT manager training you and I may have had, we may still not be very good at giving presentations. Perhaps it’s time for us to learn about PechaKucha…

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The most important conversations that you will have will be with team members

The most important conversations that you will have will be with team members

Image Credit: {lor}

The secret to being a good IT manager is having the IT manager skills to truly connect with the members of your team. This is not magic, it’s actually a skill that can be learned with a little bit of IT manager training. You need to be able to sit down with each member of your team and have a real, meaningful conversation with them. This is the only way that you’re going to be able to get them to believe in you and do what you need them to do for you. So just exactly how does one go about having these types of conversations?

You Gotta Prepare

All too often we lump talking with members of our team with all of the other things that we have on our plate to do. The reality is that this task is actually a great deal more important. Because of its importance we need to take the time to prepare for each one of our team member discussions. What you are going to want to do is to map out how you want the conversation to go. What are the issues that need to be discussed? What objections could be brought up and how should you respond to them. Finally, what are your goals for having this conversation in the first place?

You Really Don’t Know It All

Once upon a time you were the member of an IT team. What this means is that there is a real possibility that you might think that you know everything that the team member that you’ll be talking to is going to say. I mean, you’ve had their job and you’ve faced all of the challenges that they are currently facing – or so you think. The reality is that we are all different. You might think that you know what is going on in your team member’s head, but you really don’t. Learn to keep your mouth shut during the discussion that you have with them. Let them say what they want to tell you – don’t make the mistake of believing that you already know what they are going to be saying or even why they’ll be saying it.

Get Ready To Ask “Why”?

A lot of IT managers try to avoid conversations with team members because they don’t know how they are going to keep the discussion going. I’ve got some good news for you: relax. It turns out that you already know how to keep these types of discussions going because you are not the one who should be doing the majority of the talking – you really want your team member to be doing that. In order to make this happen, you need to get good at asking “why” in a 100 different ways. This question can’t be answered with a simple “yes / no” and will require your team member to think and then launch into a discussion with you. Job done!

What All Of This Means For You

The company expects you to accomplish a lot as an IT manager. The trick is that you really won’t be doing much at all – it’s all about your team. What this means is that you are going to have to be able to connect with each one of them (think of this as a form of IT team building) and find a way to motivate them to do what you need them to do for you. Looks like you are going to have to get good at the art of conversation…

There are a number of different skills that you are going to have to work at in order to be able to have good conversations with your team members. These include not just walking into a conversation – you will have to take the time to prepare for them. During the conversation you are going to have to keep reminding yourself that you really don’t know it all and the person that you are talking with might have some valuable information for you. Finally, in order to dive deeper and deeper into the conversation you are going to have to become comfortable with asking “why” over and over again.

Surprisingly, many IT managers are not good at having conversations with their team members. This opens up a window for you to take the time to master this art and show the company that you can really connect with the members of your team. Once you get good at this, the way that your team performs will show how good of a manager you really are.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How often do you think that you should try to have a conversation with each member of your team?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

One of the primary IT manager skills that an IT manager needs to have is to be able to communicate with others. There are a lot of ways to go about doing this (email anyone?); however, one of the most effective happens when you give a speech. Yeah, yeah – I fully understand that many of us would rather burst into flames than stand in front of a room and try to give a speech. However, it’s because this is such an effective form of communication that it is worth our time to get good at doing this.

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