Last week I urged you to stand in the shoes of your board so you could identify their problems and align what you do with what they need. The next challenge is showing them you understand their problem. Yes you can use words, however, as I said last week, the hardest thing to do in business is to communicate effectively.

In my Winning Conversations program I run for corporate/shared service teams to help improve their influence and their impact on the organisation, I emphasise over and over again the importance of painting pictures for people. For example, when I run board education sessions on risk appetite I draw or show the magnet diagram shown here.

I explain that management and board at the top of the organisation is trying to influence decision making of people throughout the organisation, whereas people at the extremities of the organisation are trying to influence management and board. And often it is like two poles of a magnet repelling each other. The aim of documenting and operationalising risk appetite is to align the poles so that decision making is influenced appropriately at all levels of the organisation.

Research shows that not only does a picture help explain your point, those you are presenting to will be very much more likely to remember your point days, weeks and even months later.

Paint them a picture, otherwise they will paint their own.

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