Published: 25 May 2018

The topic for CQI’s third Corporate Connect event of the year was how quality professionals should engage with their audience and make their communications truly compelling

The CQI Corporate Connect event ‘High impact communication – communicating with outstanding engagement’ took place on the 23 May, in London. The interactive presentation was conducted by Harriet Heneghan, Director at Black Isle (Europe), who talked about compelling communication with an audience of quality professionals from different backgrounds.

Grabing and sustaining your audience’s attention can be a challenge, even when you are presenting an interesting topic. In order to help the attendees surpass this challenge, Heneghan introduced the Pyramid Model.

Heneghan explained the model saying that, in order to persuade your audience effectively, you should start with the finer point of your message. “Ask yourself: What do you want the listener to think, feel and do as a result of your communication?”

After you deliver your key message “get your audience to believe and act upon your finer point, by backing it up with your arguments afterwards.” Heneghan said two or three core supporting arguments are enough, as any more will dilute the message and might tire your audience.

Heneghan gave some advice on how to handle difficult questions. “Short answers are more memorable and more believable.” She said that the key is to show you are trustworthy, and this can be more important than showing how much you know.

Taking the message home

Darren Rusling, Head of Quality and Systems at Network Rail, and one of the event’s attendees, said that the key message that he is taking home is: “Think about your message, especially when you have to deliver it to high level executives. Those people don’t have time to understand all the context, and they trust you anyway, so be concise.”

“This event was very relevant for my role because I have to communicate with high level executives,” commented Susan Walford, Head of Quality and Systems at Network Rail Infrastructure Projects in the Southern Region. “I think the presenter was excellent, extremely engaging.”

After the event, Heneghan said that the key message she would like attendees to take home is: “Keep it simple, if you want people to remember and trust you message.”

Commenting on the feedback that some quality professionals gave, about how their companies did not encourage simple and straightforward communication, Heneghan stressed that: “Best practice communication still needs to fit with the culture of the organisation, or else it will make you stand out for the wrong reason. So, you have to adapt it to the organisation, but I would still say: Be brave!”