At Innovatemap, professional development is not something we limit to once a year at an annual conference or with required trainings. Instead, we believe there are opportunities to improve ourselves daily. Often, these opportunities are right here, within our team. We learn from in-house experts who have dedicated time and energy to be the best at their craft, learn new tools and take pride in sharing with the team.
We’ve built a culture that pushes us to be better and to do better — for both our team and clients. We practice routine feedback because we know that clear is kind. We have intentional mentor relationships to help each other grow beyond the day-to-day work.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
One-on-one growth activities are invaluable to our success, but some things are best experienced as a group. When we invest the time to learn as a team, we hold each other accountable and the return is far greater.
From Show and Tell to our Monday Team Meetings, we continually learn from each other. Together, we discover ways to become better teammates. When we learn and grow as a group, we work together to achieve a greater goal that benefits the entire team.
Learning from Each Other
In a series of presentations, we heard from our own experts Tina Hafer, Lacey Lavies, Jon Moore and Leanna Adeola to discover ways to up-level the client experience and to develop our individual presence to be our most confident and authentic selves.
Here are key takeaways that you can activate at your organization to enhance your team’s professional growth.
Present like a Pro with Tina Hafer
With more than 25 years of experience in the tech industry, Tina’s presented thousands of times to thousands of people. She knows what it takes to demonstrate credibility, engage an audience and maximize your impact. “People are always going to remember how you made them feel or think, more than what you say or show,” Tina said.
To nail your next presentation:
- Prepare. The more time you invest into preparing, the bigger potential return from your audience.
- Emphasize value. Focus on explaining the value for your audience, versus the features.
- Read your audience. Look for nonverbal signals that tell you when to go deeper, when to ask questions and when to move on.
- Set expectations early. Tell your audience what you’re going to show them, show them, and then tell your audience what you showed them.
- Slow down. Rushing through a presentation devalues your work.
Read the Room with Jon Moore
Jon’s leverages design and tech expertise to conduct next-level hybrid meetings. “We can make the physical distance between us and our clients feel smaller by maximizing our remote capabilities,” Jon explained.
To make your hybrid meetings more effective for everyone in the room (and beyond):
- Think ahead. Consider the flow of the meeting. Try to work two to four minutes ahead of everyone. Know where you’re going and who is speaking next.
- Know each person’s role. Before the meeting, determine who is leading the conversation, who is taking notes and who is observing for questions from the remote team. This helps everyone to know when to listen and when to talk.
- Pick a seat. Be aware of where you’re sitting. Orient yourself to everyone in the room. Don’t forget about remote team members and clients who are on video.
- Pause. Don’t be afraid of silence. Often, your audience needs time to digest your message. Use this time to check in and make sure people understand. Ask questions, and allow them to do the same.
- Don’t skip the small talk. This important part of the conversation warms up your audience and reduces the awkwardness of hybrid meetings. Use small talk as an opportunity to get to know who you’re “in the room” with.
Lacey and Leanna are experts when it comes to commanding a room, but they don’t use loud voices or excessive hand gestures to do it. Instead, they focus on their internal presence to capture attention. Inspired by Amy Cuddy’s Presence, Leanna shared, “Presence is not pretending to be confident or managing the impression you are making on others. Presence is believing in the abilities you already have.”
To harness your internal superpowers and practice presence:
- Take up space. Your body language is what shows on the outside, but presence is what you do on the inside to exude confidence and competence. Slow down and let your words breathe.
- Untangle your limbs. When you walk into a meeting, literally expand your limbs. Make eye contact with others in the room. Place your hands on the table instead of folding them in your lap.
- Use nerves to your advantage. Being nervous means you’re alive. The next time you’re feeling nervous, translate your nerves into excitement.
- Prime for success. Use popular power poses like the bear pose to give you a quick jolt of energy before entering a meeting. Power posing for just two minutes can boost your confidence and reduce anxiety.
As a services company, we prioritize excellent client experiences.
When Tina shares her product marketing brilliance, we improve our presentation skills. When Jon demonstrates new Zoom features, we maximize the experience for our remote team and clients. When Lacey and Leanna teach us to be present, we increase our confidence.
When we share what we know with each other, we all get better. We do better work, and we create better experiences.
Professional development is never complete. It’s not something that happens overnight. There are always new skills to learn and tools to master. And who better to learn from than the experts we work alongside every day?
To present like a pro:
- Emphasize value over features.
- Read your audience.
- Tell them, show them, then tell them what you showed them.
- Slow down, take a breath.
To master hybrid meetings:
- Think ahead.
- Know each person’s role in the meeting.
- Be conscious of where you’re sitting.
- Embrace the silence, ask questions.
- Don’t skip the small talk.
To practice presence:
- Take up space.
- Let your words breathe.
- Untangle your limbs.
- Turn nerves into excitement.
- Harness the power of the power pose.