Five years ago, I embraced a challenge that changed my professional life.
I received a PowerPoint deck that our friend Andréa had presented to a Professional Women's association in Brazil. She shared stories and case studies that were at the heart of her book: Valor Feminino (Published in Portuguese – translates to "Female Value").
The deck was filled with interesting insights and detailed facts; but, it took me a few views to understand what the presentation was about.
My initial assignment was to redesign the presentation, so that she could deliver it in other venues. I had been doing a lot of this kind of work, taking an "okay" presentation and making it look better. This project required a different approach – This presentation wanted to be a training program.
Structuring the presentation like a course would support the publication of the book, empower the author and give actionable life lessons to the audience.
Step 1 – Active Listening
Listening to understand is not easy. It's a skill that requires curiosity, concentration and self control. It's difficult to turn off the part of your brain that wants to interrupt, add your two cents or make a proposal.
Listening leads to good work, by reducing the time and energy that is wasted in correcting misunderstandings, especially when they are revealed late in a project and require big changes.
We made listening and exploring Andréa's needs for her program a team effort. We knew we had to align our results to her goals.
We used verbal probes to align our efforts to:
- Her Objective: Share powerful tools for Brazilian women to succeed in business
- Her Audience: Brazilian women
This meant boiling the message, the case studies and the stories to specific skills that she could teach and that they could make a part of their lives.
We will publish part two of "Turning your Business Book into a Training Program" Wednesday, May 20.