Imagine a conversation with your point person just a day or two before one of the biggest presentations of your life. As part of their last-minute notes, they share some details about who would be in your audience, and how you’d be required to accommodate them:
- A large percentage of your audience would be visually impaired… so you’d have to orally describe 100% of whatever was on your screen so they didn’t miss anything.
- Another large number of people would be hearing impaired and there would be NO sign language interpreter, so anything you planned to say would have to be scripted out, in its entirety, on your slides, from which you would need to read verbatim; no ad libbing allowed
- There would also be a large number of people logging in remotely, along with a full house in-person
- … oh, and I forgot to mention that this was nearly 20 years ago, loooong before video conferencing and the whole “hybrid” concept was part of almost anyone’s reality.
(Did you have to read that twice to confirm what you read?)
Now, I’ve always been a pretty confident and competent presenter, but if I’m being honest, this scenario would stir up some major feelings of dread.
Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happened to Chris Hare, CEO of PRTI. On this week’s episode of Speaking to Influence , he’ll share how he handled that curve-ball arsenal when he was slated to speak – where else? – to the Disability Rights Office of the Federal Communications Commission.
Right from the start, it was clear to me that Chris is a leader who not only doesn’t shy away from big challenges, he seeks them out and tackles them head-on.
For example, his company, PRTI, is built on finding a solution to a problem that has been a major issue for nearly 200 years: What to do with old tires (which, in case you’re wondering, are not known for quick or environmentally friendly decomposition.) Can we say “up-hill battle”?
Even communicating with shareholders, in Chris’s world, is not a singular challenge. His shareholders run the gamut from people who invested in PRTI from its inception and know its actions backward and forward, to those who only bought shares in recent months. There are novice investors driven by environmental motivations, and those who are extremely market-savvy but may have little interest in knowing the science behind PRTI’s ‘secret sauce.’
How can you meet all of their needs at the same time?
For starters, there is one unwavering, guiding principle Chris referenced multiple times: The importance of communicating consistently, thoughtfully, and truthfully with all shareholders.
You don’t need to make all the changes he addresses, but the power is in realizing the impact each change can have on your relationships and overall legacy.