Disrupting the Status Quo, Envisioning Tomorrow
Some leaders fervently believe disrupting the status quo is not only possible but absolutely necessary. They are compelled to make a difference, spark innovation, and spur change. But how?
Presentation Profiling® gives you a framework to choose from three profiles—Expert, Interpreter, or Catalyst—for your presentation. Once you choose the profile needed, Presentation Profiling helps you understand the specific skills you need to activate in order to be successful. When you want your presentation to create a vision of “what can be,” choose the Catalyst profile as your guide.
When to use the Catalyst profile
When your presentation aspires to share a vision and impact change beyond a tactical call to action, you’ll find the Catalyst profile can help you mobilize others. Review the following characteristics of the Catalyst and consider how your presentation opportunity compares.
Goal: The Catalyst’s goal is to IGNITE—ignite change by igniting the audience. Catalysts envision a different, better future and are driven by a deep sense of purpose. In contrast to the Interpreter, who advocates a specific action, Catalysts strive to create the “aha” moments that propel the audience to see new possibilities.
Catalysts unequivocally believe in their vision and are willing to take risks to achieve it. Despite advocating what may be disruptive, Catalysts challenge the audience to step out of their comfort zone by connecting with them. In the beginning, Catalysts may stand alone. But as they move forward, their conviction moves their audience to join in and mobilize to make change happen.
Catalyst presentations might include these types of situations where disruptive and future-focused thinking comes into play:
- Analyst summits
- Investor forums
- Political campaigns
- Board presentations
When someone wholeheartedly puts their faith, energy, and confidence in realizing their vision, they are a Catalyst.
Audience: Catalysts share their view with a wide array of audiences, from board members to employee populations to icons and influencers at high-profile events. That means audience members almost always start in many different places with many different perspectives. A Catalyst must craft an unwavering message that appeals to those individuals and drives them to believe in a new future and in their ability to create it.
Message: Like the Interpreter, the Catalyst’s message includes logic, credibility, and an emotional connection—but the Catalyst is driven by a deeper passion. To build the trust integral to mobilizing an audience, Catalysts need the courage to be authentic and vulnerable. Effective Catalysts openly share how they feel, and speak with energy and conviction that illuminates what is possible.
Skills to be an effective Catalyst
Using Professionally Speaking’s C.O.D.E.® process as a guide, build these skills to be an effective Catalyst:
Clarify your content. Because as a Catalyst you will be speaking to audiences with different perspectives, you must rely on language that makes your content not only clear and credible, but relatable. The strong core message of your presentation becomes your mantra. To bring your message to life use:
- Stories that help your audience connect to your cause. Frame your content with appropriate metaphors and analogies to paint a picture of your vision.
- Concrete language that helps your audience relate to your big idea. Keep your listeners anchored by using sensory detail and specific examples.
- Language that makes the message memorable. Incorporate alliteration, creative repetition, catch phrases, and sound bites to make your message “sticky.”
Organize your information. When using the Catalyst profile, it’s important to structure your content to build emotion and resonance. Guide your audience toward understanding by answering these key questions for them:
- What’s wrong with the status quo?
- What’s in it for me to do something different?
- What impact will this change have?
- What part can I play in making it happen?
Develop your media. To be an effective Catalyst, consider any and all forms of media—including drawing, demonstrating, and using props, audio clips, and video recordings—to forge a connection and trigger an emotional response.
If your power is you and your message is clear, consider forgoing presentation aids altogether to allow your words and energy to come through. Can you picture Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving his “I Have a Dream” speech with a slide deck?
Express yourself. When you want to touch people’s hearts as well as their minds, demonstrate your passion! Your message, your language, and your delivery should engage your audience, expand their perspectives, and lower their barriers to change. In addition to applying the skills Experts and Interpreters use, you can successfully reach your audience as a Catalyst by:
- Speaking without physical barriers.
- Telling moving stories that spark emotions.
- Painting a picture of your vision with language that resonates.
- Showing conviction through gestures, facial expression, movement, and vocal inflections.
Of the three profiles, the Catalyst profile usually requires the most advanced presentation delivery skills. Experts and Interpreters need to own the room, but Catalysts need to own the world.
Cautions for the Catalyst
While Catalysts see their vision clearly, it’s easy to lose people along the way.
Be patient. Significant changes often happen gradually; remember you may need to move people in small steps toward the goal. Play the long game to create next-level change.
Expect resistance. If your message is particularly disruptive, audiences may oppose what you say and even engage in rebuttal. Develop a thick skin and be ready for backlash.
Be real. Catalysts often speak from a place of personal power. While it’s easy to allow others to put you on a pedestal, stay grounded. Connect to your audience, authentically and even humbly.
Are you an effective Catalyst?
Before you present, ask yourself these questions to ensure you and your message make a meaningful impact:
- Does my message reflect my passion and conviction?
- What can I do to help my audience “get it” and see things as I see them?
- Is my message clear and relatable to everyone who is listening?
- How will I break through emotional barriers with disruptive content?
- Does my delivery come across as transparent and authentic?
- Do I offer an optimistic perspective that galvanizes others to join in?
You’ve got vision, Catalyst, and your ideas have the potential to make a significant difference. Position yourself to achieve your endgame by developing a presentation that disrupts your audience’s current view of the world, sparks innovation, and inspires change.