Dick Moore, Director of UFI LearnDirect
We were asked to train each of the directors at Ufi learndirect. The aim was to raise their presence, presentation and communication skills so that they would not only do full justice to their status and evident expertise but also to strengthen and enhance their leadership qualities. Raising the profile of their leadership was of critical importance, particularly when significant changes were to take place in the organisation.
We decided that rather than train the directors in a group, each director would have one or two one-to-one coaching sessions dedicated entirely to their specific needs. This made perfect sense as each director’s style, personality and challenges were so different.
We trained in both London and Sheffield and the facilities were splendid. We brought all the film and replay equipment and set the room prior to the arrival of each trainees.
Dick Moore was one of the directors we trained. He was already a confident and passionate communicator. He brought, as requested, a presentation he was shortly to deliver at a large conference.
We had an initial run-through; this was filmed and replayed, with frequent stops for discussion and suggestions. Dick has a powerful personality and a message to match. It turned out that he had over scripted his presentation, used too many slides, tended to move too often in a distracting fashion and, like many very clever people, he is inclined to speak too quickly, use too few pauses, and fades at the ends of his sentences.
The joy of working with Dick is that he has the rare capacity to take on board all that is said and put it into practice straight away. Once we had focused on the importance of a dynamic opening to capture the spirit and tone of the speech, he engaged with and talked to his audience with energy, fluency, humour, enjoyment and conviction, free from the constraints of too many PowerPoint slides. The ones he used were helpful and suited his style and the narrative line gave him the structure he needed.
The whole experience suited his persona and physicality so much better than the approach he had adopted before. His enthusiasm was a delight and the progress he made was impressive.
The splendid thing about the whole experience is that great training invisibly enhances the speaker’s appearance of being a ‘natural’ orator; and the skills and knowledge he acquired can easily be applied to his preparation for future speaking occasions.
The approach we used of focusing on the relevant and appropriate techniques associated with powerful performance means that the benefits are long lasting and become part of the speaker’s skillset as opposed to a quick, short-term polish.
Dick’s own words reflect the success of the coaching experience.“What they don’t tell you when you get promoted is that you remain accountable for all the things you used to be responsible for but with less control and are now responsible for a new set of relationships without any direct control.
It was a seminal moment when I realized that my job is 90% influencing and delegation and the delegation part is 90% influencing. While I believed that I was proficient at giving presentations, speeches and running meetings, Susan Ford and her team in a three-hour session demonstrated areas for improvement and gave me an entirely new tool set.
In the nicest possible way, my presentation technique was deconstructed and put back together in a way that I would not have believed possible. As for evidence, at the annual company conference my presentation scored equal to the invited motivational speaker Michelle Mone.
You will guess from the above that I am a fan of Ford and Co., and you would be right; no matter what your skill level, if you are planning to do a presentation, three hours with Susan will lift your scores two points on a Lickert scale. This was the most effective piece of personal development I have done in 30 years of attending training events.”
Dick Moore, Director of Technology, Ufi learndirect