Few people understand just how much the emotions of key leaders and managers in a company are affecting the bottom line, how much it can cost not to change this, and just how much learning to manage their emotions can be worth, both to the leaders involved and to the business itself.
One of the most common areas where emotions intrude on performance in business is presentations. Even many senior leaders suffer from presentation fears and anxiety that holds them back and interferes with their ability to communicate key messages and win key contracts.
We conducted a presentation skills program for the senior leaders of an engineering company, teaching them not only how to put together a great presentation but also (the missing link from many programs) how to overcome their presentation fears. One of those leaders was then able to overcome his former fears and give a powerful presentation that brought in a $29 million project to the company. Even if I tell you that we charged a 5-figure fee for our program, you’d have to agree that was a pretty good return on investment. And that was only ONE of many changes that resulted from this program.
What’s it worth for a senior leader in a company like this to get over their presentation fears? Not just doing this one presentation and getting this one contract. What about the fact that he now has the confidence to do more and better presentations in the future without fear getting in the way of his results? And not just him; in this program 14 key leaders all learned these skills and during our time with them we saw many get results, each of which dwarfed our fees in terms of value to the company. They have those changes for life, for all future presentations too.
Now let’s look beyond the dollar value and look at life quality. What’s it worth to be able to move forward with confidence, to not only be able to do presentations without fear, to even enjoy doing them where previously they filled you with dread? What does that do for your confidence in other areas of your life and business too? When you look at the professional effects of this program you’d have to agree they are very good. And overcoming presentation fears is not the only area that tapping can help you with.
I once coached a business owner with an anger problem which was affecting his relationships with his leadership team and others. Over several sessions we were able to help him release the emotional triggers causing him to react angrily in key meetings. He then had a meeting with the guy who was providing IT support to his company and instead of getting angry and (in his words) “blowing up” as he normally would have when told the price, he just sat there, quietly. Well, the IT guy didn’t know what to do in this situation, so he started lowering his prices. My client continued to sit there, so the guy kept going. Ultimately, he reduced his prices by $48 000! As he related this to me in my office, I asked my client what happened next. He said, “I sacked him!” “Why?” I asked. “Because he’s obviously been overcharging me for years!”
Even if I tell you nothing about the other changes made by this business owner, which were substantial, you’d have to agree that a direct $48K return on investment isn’t bad for a few coaching sessions on how to manage his anger better.
Both of the examples I’ve given so far are dwarfed by the experiences of another client, the Australian managing partner of a global law firm, who, when I came in to work with him, had his head in his hands, in major distress over some bad news which threatened the strategic direction of his company. “This is your lucky day!” I said to him, and proceeded to introduce him to a new emotion management technique. His demeanor and outlook started to shift immediately and within just 90 minutes he had transformed in front of my eyes. He then started using the technique on a daily basis to manage his emotional state.
The result? From just that single session and the tapping he did for himself after this he was able to regain his positive energy and transcend the challenges which had threatened to scupper him and the company. Days later he wrote to thank me, saying the work we did together put him back on track in terms of leading the business, restoring his clarity of vision and his confidence, and allowed him to re-access the positive energy so essential to being a good leader.
He later wrote this description of our work together:
“Around Christmas this year I was faced with a very challenging situation on the work front. The organization which I lead had taken a brave course two years before and the other key person who had been the co-architect of our strategy told me he was leaving the organization. Not only did I begin to wonder if the strategy we had adopted was the wrong one I also began to doubt myself and whether I had the energy to continue. I needed someone to talk to about how I felt and I rang Steve to see if he would be prepared to meet. We met a couple of days later. Steve listened to what I had to say, which was itself therapeutic as he is a very good listener. He then suggested that I start ‘tapping’. At first I was a bit taken aback as I had never come across the concept. Steve suggested that I think about the issues that I was worrying about and tap. The strangest thing began to happen – I could feel the knots in my chest and the worries begin to dissolve as I tapped!
I took Steve at his word and tapped religiously (and still do). What this amazing thing enabled me to do, was to regain my faith in respect to our organisation’s strategy, get clarity of thinking and keep going. Now six months later, whilst the journey has not been easy, the organization is booming on all fronts, our people are motivated engaged and aligned and I have inner peace. Thank you Steve.”
On a personal level as a business leader what’s it worth to have a tool to manage your emotions that works such that the things that used to challenge you, overwhelm you, fill you with dread, or drain your energy no longer have that effect on you? Or even, to go from dreading them to being be able to enjoy them? What’s it ultimately worth when a key leader in a company is able to reclaim their confidence, power and positive energy? And what’s it ultimately worth when that positive energy spreads outwards, through them, to everyone in the company and to their customers and beyond? What’s it really worth? As each of these leaders will tell you, it’s priceless.