Translating for Action
Business leaders know firsthand the importance of aligning a team and galvanizing members to take action. But getting people into motion isn’t always easy . . .
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 your presentation goes beyond sharing information and includes a specific call to action, the Interpreter profile will help you to rise to the occasion.
When to Take the Interpreter Approach
If you’ve got the task of moving people from Point A to Point B, from the status quo to a new way of operating, the Interpreter profile may fit the bill. Review the following characteristics of the Interpreter and consider how your presentation opportunity compares.
Goal: The Interpreter’s goal is to INFLUENCE their audience, motivating them to take a specific action. Interpreters understand what’s at stake and are invested in the outcome—their endgame is not the presentation itself, but rather the action needed. The superpower an Interpreter must bring to the table is the ability to translate—that is, interpret—information so that it makes sense to the audience, enabling them to both understand and act on it.
Interpreter presentations include these types of situations where persuasion and influence come into play:
- Product launch
- Analyst summit
- Sales pitch or client meeting
- Conference presentation or industry keynote event
- Public policy forum
In a nutshell, when you have a specific call to action, use the Interpreter profile.
Audience: Interpreters present to a wide variety of audiences, including their staff and other employee populations, board members and other stakeholders, external clients, analysts, and industry peers. Influencing people to act—up and down organizational hierarchies—is what gets things done, and success depends on gaining buy-in from diverse groups. This makes it critical for Interpreters to analyze their audience, determine who needs to get on board, and get the right people in the room.
Message: Like the Expert, the Interpreter’s message requires logic and credibility, but Interpreters must also understand others’ perspectives and leverage that understanding to shape the message. Rather than taking a neutral approach and stating only facts, Interpreters use tools such as comparisons, anecdotes, and stories to create a personal connection that builds trust and resonates with their audience. Above all, Interpreters make it clear what the audience needs to do and why.
Skills to be an effective Interpreter
Using Professionally Speaking’s C.O.D.E.® process as a guide, build these critical skills to be an effective Interpreter:
Clarify your content. Interpreters often speak to groups of people with varying knowledge levels, different perspectives, or mixed expectations. When crafting and delivering your message, focus on the needs of your audience—which can be a bit tricky when the needs of each listener are different.
Begin by finding the common ground among your listeners. At first glance, this task may seem impossible, but challenge yourself—you can always find common connections if you make the effort to look for them. Challenge yourself to discover common ground between yourself and your audience as well. The payoff is a clear message that moves your entire audience to action.
Organize your information. Understanding what audience members have in common enables you to craft a message that captures their hearts and minds. Remember: making a call to action doesn’t mean it will actually happen. A successful Interpreter’s message follows a framework that clearly answers the audience’s three primary questions:
- What must I do?
- Why should I care?
- How will it improve my life?
Your listeners must understand not only what you are asking them to do but why you are asking them to do it.
Develop your media. While the Expert profile often leverages slides to relay information, when using the Interpreter profile, use slides only to deepen audience comprehension and create an emotional connection. Additionally, include metaphors to illustrate your points and use stories everyone can relate to. In short, show more than you tell.
Express yourself. Successful Interpreters are keen observers. When using the Interpreter profile, pay attention to how your audience is responding—verbally and nonverbally—and adjust accordingly. In addition to using the foundational delivery skills of an Expert, to give a compelling presentation as an Interpreter, it’s essential to:
- Share emotion.
- Express understanding of others’ points of view.
- Talk with—not at—the audience, using a conversational tone.
- Use plain language so the audience “gets it.”
To influence people to take action, you must connect with them.
Cautions for the Interpreter
Because the Interpreter’s focus is on influencing the audience to act, to avoid missteps . . .
Do your homework. Rather than assuming you already know everything about your audience and the topic, invest the time to research your listeners and their point of view.
Go back to the beginning. Take yourself back to your initial exploration of the topic and action needed; that’s where your audience is, so start your presentation there. What feels like a baby step to you may be a quantum leap for your audience.
Remember the endgame. Your presentation is only one step in the process. To get the change needed, you may need to have conversations with key stakeholders both before and after your presentation.
Are you an effective Interpreter?
Before you present, ask yourself the following questions to make sure you achieve your goal:
- What is my core message?
- Where is my audience now—open, skeptical, new to the idea, or split on the issue? Where do they need to be?
- What common ground do listeners share? What common ground do I share with listeners?
- What’s my business case for my listeners to take action? What stories, metaphors and comparisons will help them “get it” and move them to action?
- Have I prepared enough to be conversational and engaging?
When using the Interpreter profile, go beyond getting your audience to understand your message—help them recognize the need to take action. The ability to translate a message from an informative presentation to one that influences a call to action sets the Interpreter apart. And every company needs skilled Interpreters.