6

Centered Verbal Presence

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Turning rhetoric into results

An hour into the meeting, the frustration level was palpable. Tim, a product manager at a consumer goods company, had just finished delivering what he thought was an irrefutable, iron-clad case to launch a new line.

Senior leaders were not impressed.

I was sitting quietly in the back of the room and knew exactly how the CEO, Dean, would respond. “Where's the profit potential?” he challenged the product manager. “Look, Tim, I can see you're passionate about this idea. But if there's a compelling business case here, you've hidden it well.”

As communicator-in-chief, Dean spends 80 percent of his time in meetings. All too often, he's on the receiving end of half-baked ideas. Employees throw everything—too much, in fact—at Dean in a desire to win his approval. So he's forced to extract the critical details that will help him make the decisions that weigh heavily on corporate profits. He has to listen well, zero in on the details that connect the current idea to the company's big picture, and deliver his verdict—and the reason for it—clearly.

But day in and day out, employees like Tim fail to hit the core issues that would persuade Dean and his executive team to give them the green light. Dean has to evaluate these pitches and respond to them in a way that will teach the Tims of the world to do better next time.

It'd be easy for ...

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