Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 58

One issue, Venditto says, is that presenters sometimes speak
too fast and fail to gauge feedback from their audience and
adjust their style. When giving a presentation, you want your
listeners to feel engaged. If you feel there's a lull in your presentation, ask a question. Get your audience to re-engage.
J.D. Solomon, a practice leader for Jacobs Engineering Group
in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and author of Communicating Reliability, Risk and Resiliency to Decision Makers, says providing too much information to decision-makers and presenting
slide decks that are poorly organized or downright boring is a
recipe for disaster.
"You have to make sure you aren't delving into unnecessary
or irrelevant details," says Solomon. "The goal is to deliver a
punchline with essential supporting information so the executive
or client can make a decision."
Solomon, who also conducts seminars for ACEC members,
believes that persuasion can easily be mistaken for manipulation.
An overly aggressive or contrived approach can come across as
too one-sided and unnecessarily focused on what the presenter
wants-or how the presenter benefits-rather than what's best for
the recipient or for both parties. "Engineers should be less interested in persuading others than making sure the information and
concepts are understood. If you come across as a trusted adviser,
your chances of succeeding are a lot greater," he explains.
Body language is also critical, according to Hickey, who also
has led ACEC professional development seminars. While a certain amount of movement is beneficial, too much movement
is distracting. "It's important to recognize that everyone who
speaks in front of a group is nervous. Some people simply know
how to hide their nervousness or channel it positively. One way
to relax is to know the topic; another
is to practice a presentation. One
difficulty is that you may forget lines
and freeze. The other is that you
come across as wooden," she says.
TALK IS CHEAP

"If you come
across as
a trusted
adviser, your
chances of
succeeding
are a lot
greater."
J.D. SOLOMON
JACOBS
ENGINEERING
GROUP
58

ENGINEERING INC.

The best communicators-and those
who are the most successful in winning over audiences-understand how
to home in on what's truly important,
and they know how to establish an
emotional connection with their audience, Venditto says. This requires an
understanding of the group or the key
decision-makers-something achieved
through research or by conferring
with colleagues. For example, a CFO
might aid a presenter by framing key
financial information, and an operations manager might help translate a
mountain of data into the practical
business benefits.
Staying focused on the primary
message for each group is also paramount. Solomon says that starting
with the conclusion and working

MAY / JUNE 2018

backward is a highly effective way to
draw in an audience and maintain a
focus. Venditto suggests adopting a
"rule of three," which places all data
and information into three primary
topics or buckets. This will enhance
the clarity of information delivered
and make it easier for listeners to
retain this information. "People must
be able to receive information in a
"When you
retainable way. Retention is increased
are in tune
when you keep it interactive and
engaging. They have to be able to
with your
walk out of a meeting and know the
audience
main points." She says that humor
and anecdotes are fine as long as they
and have a
closely align with the message and
very clear
help advance the presentation. "However, it has to be relevant, and should
idea how to
make a point related to the topic. If
you toss out superficial stories or cute
communicate
stories for the sake of cute stories, you
a message to
may lose credibility."
It's also important to step into a
them, you are
presentation with a flexible mindin a position
set-and adjust and adapt, if necessary. This includes eye contact with
to win them
audience members, recognizing when
people are becoming bored or disover and
tracted, or when they are uncomfortachieve your
able with a message. All of which may
require a speaker to take a different
goals."
tack or ask a question or two to get
back on track. Dealing with a difficult
JESSICA HICKEY
1029 CONSULTING
or aggressive member of the audience
also requires some finesse. Venditto
recommends maintaining a strong
voice and presence and focusing on the entire audience when
answering a question.
"When answering a tough question, deliver your answer to all
versus to the person asking the question. Reply by looking at the
person initially but then look at others. Too much eye contact
with the person asking the question creates an invitation for
them to challenge you again," says Venditto.
Sometimes the methods for effective communication seem
counterintuitive, Stone says. Outstanding speakers know how
and when to stop and listen. "As long as you're talking, you learn
nothing. The best salespeople learn early on that selling is about
listening, not talking."
He offers an example: "If the mayor of Podunk is in the news
because lower Main Street is flooded again, she doesn't want to
hear about the great waste treatment plants you design. But tell
a couple of stories about your successes in stormwater management, and she'll want to talk with you all day."
Solomon says that PowerPoint presentations and other visuals should never become a crutch. They should merely support
a presentation. "You may need a picture, but you don't need



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc - May/June 2018

Engineering Inc - May/june 2018
Contents
From Acec to You
Market Watch
Legislative Action
2018 Annual Convention Recap
Acec 2018 Engineering Excellence Awards
Smart City Solutions
Mastering Business Communications
Powering Up Puerto Rico
Personal Philanthropy
Mergers and Acquisitions
Members in the News
Business Insights
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Intro
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Engineering Inc - May/june 2018
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Cover2
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Contents
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 2
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 3
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - From Acec to You
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 5
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Market Watch
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 7
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Legislative Action
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 9
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 2018 Annual Convention Recap
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 11
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 12
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 13
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 14
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 15
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Acec 2018 Engineering Excellence Awards
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 17
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 18
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 19
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 20
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 21
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 22
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 23
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 24
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 25
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 26
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 27
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 28
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 29
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 30
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 31
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 32
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 33
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 34
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 35
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 36
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 37
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 38
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 39
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 40
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 41
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 42
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 43
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 44
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 45
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 46
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 47
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 48
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 49
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Smart City Solutions
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 51
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 52
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 53
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 54
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 55
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Mastering Business Communications
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 57
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 58
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 59
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 60
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 61
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Powering Up Puerto Rico
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 63
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 64
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 65
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Personal Philanthropy
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 67
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 68
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 69
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Mergers and Acquisitions
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 71
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 72
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Members in the News
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 74
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - 75
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Business Insights
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Cover3
Engineering Inc - May/June 2018 - Cover4
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