Q: I am at a loss when it comes to my improvement as I do not know where to zero in on the feedback given to me as it is pretty general in nature. One person who confuses me a lot is my boss. He keeps saying that my presentation skills need to be polished; saying that dealers (and him included) whom I often have to present, complain that my products and sales presentation to them are pretty dry, monotonous and uninteresting, and that they require major overhaul. So now I am turning to you as to whether you can read his mind to advise me where I should focus for my improvement. Can you help me?

A: I have to give my views on three people here; you, your boss and I. As for you who are the eventual winner or loser, the ball is really in your court for you to take control of what you really want to know from your boss or any other person. As for him, he may be a poor feedback giver who rather talks in general terms rather than delving into the specifics of what he exactly means. As for me, it will be most unfair (and perhaps dangerous) to read his mind to tell you what he means. Always remember, meanings are in people. His understanding and my understanding of what is “dry”, “monotonous” and “uninteresting” may be poles apart.

The Bottom Line: Of all the three persons mentioned, it is YOU who needs to do more than any of the two. “Assertiveness” is what you need in all situations. Rather than you sulk over it, complain over it, or get someone to do the work for you, you need to be strong to express your frank views to him with confidence and not fear that he will be offended. So face up to him and ask what he means, specify the areas and give examples of it, even asking him how he suggests that this can be improved. On another score, you can also get your capable and reliable friends or colleagues to do the same for you. Specify what you want them to watch out for. These could be: your friendliness, sense of humor, message clarity and organisation of thoughts, etc. Once you get the specific areas of feedback, act on them straightaway when the “heat” is still on. I am sure when you can manage feedback in this manner, you will know where you are heading, and the way forward for you is surely towards becoming a successful and dynamic speaker!

Powerful Questions: What part does being a good public presenter play in your career success? What does this require you to do? What are you doing about it to move forward towards this goal? Who can you count on to support you in getting this goal, and what do you want them to do?

Q: We know that our people are “outdated” as we are not coming up with new ways quick enough to compete in the marketplace, let alone doing new things in the workplace. We have heard a lot about building talents and it is certain that this is the way we need to go if we want to continue to be relevant here. We also know that taking this route is going to be a long and expensive process so that we get it right all the way. We want to give a brief to the talent consultant on what we want. So what should guide us to know that transformation is gradually happening in our organisation? In short, what signs will tell us so?
Talent Manager

A: There are some outcomes to expect from new age talents. There are a number of signs that your people are becoming new age talents. Overall, they become braver and more confident to try out new things. They are holistic as they become system thinkers who can “see” wider with deeper views of people and events. Collectively, when most of them have this, they will impact on the company’s culture and the process of transformation in the organisation takes place, which will gradually replace old ways of thinking and doing. Certainly, your organisation will be rejuvenated.

The Bottom Line: Talent building programmes need to be holistic to grow talents both in personal, people and professional mastery skills. Learning areas that are linked to the development of their emotive, intellectual, leadership and professional competencies have to be developed so that they become holistic leaders. In this way, they are balanced at all fronts who in turn, will contribute holistically to the overall progress of the organisation as well.

Powerful Questions: What kind of organisation do you want? What will set you apart from others based on what you already have? What benefits will this bring? What will you be committed in to see the realisation of your goal?

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