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Coaches Diary: Hooking Them In


In the latest from her casebook, Olivia Stefanino exlains how finding an unusual hook for a presentation gave one client a confidence boost.

Simon had been invited to speak about his company to his local business community – and understandably, he wanted to ensure that he would make an impressive impact.

His problem – as he saw it – was that he was working for a telesales company. Worse, his belief was that no one respects or likes people in telesales!

Talking to Simon about his career history, he told me about his time at Sandhurst, the elite training academy for the Armed Forces.

During his time at Sandhurst, Simon had not only learned about leadership skills and military tactics, but he had also reinforced his own high levels of integrity and commitment to serve.

Looking for a theme for Simon’s presentation, I suggested that we focus on his army days. Without too much persuasion, Simon agreed to make his presentation dressed in army fatigues – a great visual hook that would reinforce his message and ensure that his presentation was memorable.

We then looked at how he could incorporate the most important elements of his army training into his ten-minute presentation.

First of all, Simon would outline the army watchwords of integrity and leadership – and he would explain how he brings these two values to his work in telesales. He would then go on to explain why he could only work for a company which shared those values.

Simon then would discuss how he would plan his clients’ telesales campaigns with military precision – ensuring that every detail was covered. He would speak about the requirement for meticulous preparation, industry intelligence and the appropriate resources - together with the need for continuous monitoring throughout the duration of the campaign.

Equally importantly, Simon would outline the vital importance of co-operation between his company and his client. As well as having a shared understanding of the desired outcome of each telesales campaign, both company and client would need to work as one team to achieve the campaign’s objective.

Understanding the need for preparation, Simon vowed that he would spend some considerable time writing and practising his ten-minute speech. As well as honing the words and general presentation style, Simon decided to create a Power-Point presentation using a camouflage background for his bullet points, to emphasise the military theme of his presentation.

As he left my office, Simon looked and sounded more confident – and even admitted that he was now looking forward to making the presentation, much to his own surprise.

* Olivia Stefanino is a leadership development consultant and executive coach, who works with blue chip organisations, SMEs and individuals. Download your free e-booklet “128 ways to harness your personal power” at


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