My most profitable investment wasn’t in the stock market, a new business, or a new discovery; it was in myself. I took media training. I know some of you are going “Huh?” at this time. Here’s the background info:
I had advanced in my career as a technical expert in information technology and supply chain leading large change initiatives. Once I became a general manager, I found myself presenting to C-Suite executives more often. I could tell that my presentations were not that effective because of their reactions. I knew I had to do something about it or it would limit my effectiveness and career growth. It also had to be something different because I had taken presentation and communications classes earlier in my career. Fortunately, I received great advice from our communications director to take media training. What’s different is it teaches you how to get your point across, both verbally and visually, in the shortest amount of time possible.
The reason why media training is so important is that most executives, especially CEOs, have so much going on that if you don’t hook them in the first 15 seconds of your presentation, you never will garner their attention. Media training also teaches you how to effectively handle the Q&A portion of your presentation; reason being, you are prepared for the presentation, but not for the Q&A. When you don’t come across strong with your answers, you will lose them after hooking them. The training also improves your image so that you come across with more gravitas.
The investment in media training made me a much more effective communicator, which opened up doors and positions in the C-suite and boardrooms for me. To continue honing my skills, each year I take a refresher course. Last week, I attended a session with Charles Edwards at Jackson-Spalding in Atlanta.
Anytime you make an investment in yourself to increase your knowledge, skills, and effectiveness, you will get a high return. The investment is not a one-time occurence, you need to invest annually in yourself. If you are leading teams, you also have to invest in them, especially as individuals take on more responsibility because the stakes are higher.