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Vincent Wu - Communicating with Executives Effectively - Summary 🔗

This is my summary of the video, mostly quoting the slides.

Goal 🔗

Effectively communicate with busy executives to successfully motivate action.

The busy executive’s thought process 🔗

At their level, almost everything is a trust and leadership problem. They either trust you to get it done or they change leadership. Doing it themselves is not an option.

What executives listen for 🔗

Executives need to believe in both your vision and leadership ability to get it done. You cannot establish this belief without showing progress, details and data.

VisionDo they know where they’re going and how they will get there?
AlignmentDo I agree with the direction? Are their decisions grounded on good data?
AbilityCan they execute? Do they see the issues? Are they demonstrating progress?
NeedCost + Empowerment: What do they need from me to be successful? Too expensive?

Motivate action? 🔗

Three steps to structuring effective communication 🔗

  1. Start with the answer first
  2. Group and summarize your supporting arguments
  3. Logically structure your writing

Step #1: Start with the answer first 🔗

What should we do? => “You should do X”

Are you answering the right question? 🔗

People only engage when they are learning, laughing, or disagreeing.

Bad to good 🔗

We are concerned about meeting the new manufacturing standardsWe know that already.
We should take steps to meet the new manufacturing standards.What “steps”?
We can change our process to meet the new manufacturing standards.Change in what way?
We should devote extra resources (2 FTE) now to redesign our processes to meet the new manufacturing standards.OK, much cleaner.
We should devote extra resources (2 FTE) now to redesign our processes to meet the new manufacturing standards before the Feb 28 deadlinesOK, clear & specific!

Step #2: Group and summarize your supporting arguments 🔗

Deductive 🔗

Because I’m a bird, I fly.

Inductive 🔗

Sumo wrestlers are strong.

Given a choice, use induction rather than deduction to formulate the argument at the main level. Inductive reasoning is easier for the reader to absorb because it require less effort to comprehend. The tendency is to want to present your thinking in the order in which you developed it, which is generally a deductive process.

Well structured - Deductive 🔗

Buy the Pacific Avenue warehouse

Better structured - Inductive 🔗

Buy the Pacific Avenue warehouse because it meets our criteria

The Rule of 3 🔗

Always present 3 reasons.

Mutually Exclusive, Collectively Exhaustive 🔗

Ideas in any grouping must be in logical order. Make sure they truly belong together and nothing has been left out.

Step #3: Logically structure your writing 🔗

Introductions should tell a story and lead to one question 🔗

  1. Limit the introduction to what the reader will agree is true.
  2. Anchors the reader in a specific time and place.
  3. Always put historical chronology in the introduction.

Every (business) story ever told: Situation, Complication, Question, Answer 🔗

SituationWhat are we talking about?
ComplicationWhy are we talking about it? Why now?
QuestionOne question only!
AnswerWhat is the key point?

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Updated on 2022 Dec 18.

DISCLAIMER: This is not professional advice. The ideas and opinions presented here are my own, not necessarily those of my employer.