Speeches to staff
You can play a pivotal role in having an engaged staff. And research shows that companies with the highest percentage of engaged staff can be three times as profitable as their competitors. Communications with emotional appeal will bond the employees to the company, thus triggering greater engagement with the company’s operations and vision.
- What is the meeting all about? Is the situation/topic a positive or negative one? Is there a special theme? Is it a special occasion (e.g. annual awards)?
- What will the staff expect to hear at this meeting?
- What is your core message? Are there any sub points? If you have more than 3 main points, your message will not achieve its purpose. What do you want your staff to take away with them? What behavioural change are you advocating?
- Is there a Q&A session? A Q&A session will indicate that you are open, friendly, and approachable – the opposite will be true if you decide not to take questions at the end of your presentation. What are the likely tough questions you will be asked?
- Once you know the answers to the above questions, you can start preparing for the employee meeting.
- If you are going to address a very sensitive staff issue, it will be best to write out your speech in full, so that there will be no errors. This will also enable you to edit your speech. If you don’t have time or the inclination to do this, you need to have the main messages as bullet points on note cards. Number the note cards and take them with you to the meeting.
- If you have a communications division, it is best to rehearse your speech in front of a communications professional and/or a senior trusted member of your management team.
- You and your team should come up with a list of the toughest questions that you might be asked. The above rehearsal must also include your answering the tough questions.
- If you can videotape your presentation and play back, you will learn what changes to make to enhance the effectiveness of your speech and cut down distractions.
- At the Q&A, make sure you first answer the question posed by the employee and then immediately plug in one of your top 3 points. This technique is called “satisfy and steer” (Virgil Scudder): satisfy the employee by answering his/her question, then steer the conversation to one of your main points.
- Do not forget to make emotional appeals to your employees. This is perhaps the easiest way to increase employee engagement and earn their commitment to the company’s goals.