Today was the first day of the CSO Perspectives Conference here in Atlanta. This is a conference put on by CXO Media that is designed to bring CSO's (and aspiring CSO's) from all over and give them tools to do their job better. I must say that they got things off to a good start.
Today was sort of a pre-conference day. It was a half day hands on seminar on Presenting to the Board of Directors. They brought in Paul Argenti who is Professor of Corporate Communications at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College. He spent the day talking about how to be better communicators especially when we have to face the Board. This is an area that many CSO's need help with and few of us get to learn outside the "School of Hard Knocks".
The first part of the day was us listening to him teach us some keys to effective communication. We had some homework that we were supposed to do prior to the conference. A paper to read and a case study to go over. These were used as tools in the discussion and learning aids. After we had been given a good overview of effective communication we then broke up into groups of 5 and were given 1 of 3 scenarios to talk about. After 30 minutes of brainstorming we then teamed up with the other groups who had the same scenario that we had. Then as a larger group we put together a short Board Presentation and had one of the group make the presentation to a mock Board. After each group made their presentation we wrapped up the day and went to have some light snacks and refreshments.
So what were my take-away's from today? Several things I think.
- First, when we communicate our message, no matter who the audience is, we must be clear and focused.
- Second, be prepared. When you are going before the board you need to have all your facts and you need to be prepared to defend your position and be ready for them to throw you a curve ball.
- Third, know your audience. Find out what you can about who they are, what they like and don't like. Anything that you can use to boost your message and get it across to them
I didn't really know what to expect out of today's session but I was pleasantly surprised at just how good it was.
There are 2 more days of the conference with lots of sessions to choose from. It promises to be a good two days of learning and networking.