Innovators and product managers must interact with people across the organization and possess the ability to influence stakeholders at all levels, including the very top of the company. Doing so requires effective writing, speaking, and presentation skills.
The essential thread between all of these is communicating both effectively and efficiently. To explore this thread, I interviewed Curtis Fletcher, an expert communicator, innovator, and product manager.
Curtis has been a product manager at Oracle, a Customer Experience expert for several organizations, a CTO, and has served in other leadership roles as well. Today he coaches executives and their management teams to be more effective communicators and presenters.
I met Curtis at the SCORRE conference, which is all about becoming a better speaker and presenter. He was one of the coaches for the three day experience. I attended the conference because I want the weekly award-winning podcast I host to provide product managers and innovators even more value, which means I need to become a better communicator. I learned the SCORRE system can help anyone more effectively influence stakeholders.
See the link below to hear the interview.
How SCORRE Was Created
Ken Davis created the SCORRE communication system and the SCORRE conference. He is a bit of a preacher, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur, but primarily he has made his living as a comedian. He recognized that he had the ability to captivate an audience while delivering a presentation that is remembered, and that he could share his method with others. SCORRE was created to teach communicating with more focus and clarity.
Only 2 Types of Presentations
Before getting to what SCORRE is, it is essential to understand that all (effective) presentations fall into two categories. This truth is a bit hard to accept until you dig into it further, but the truth is that there are only two types of presentations. All presentations or speeches can only accomplish one of two things – you’re either trying to train or trying to persuade your audience. There are no other types of presentations. When you realize your purpose is only one or the other of these, it shapes how you think about and design your presentations. It also provides clarity to your message. The core question is what you want your audience to do – are you training them to do something or are you persuading them to take some action?
The SCORRE System
SCORRE is an acronym that describes the framework for constructing an effective presentation or other form of communication. The elements of SCORRE are:
- S = Subject – the subject of the presentation, e.g., Customer research.
- C = Central Theme – the specific aspect of the subject addressed in the presentation, e.g., What you need to know to effectively conduct customer research using ethnography.
- O = Objective – a structured sentence that is a proposition to your audience, e.g., Every product manager can effectively conduct customer research using ethnography by following 5 simple steps.
- R = Rationale – the points of the Objective, e.g., The first step to effectively using ethnography is….
- R = Resources – supporting elements that help to explain the rationale and make them memorable to the audience, e.g., A story that illustrates the first step is….
- E = Evaluation – reflections on the effectiveness of your presentation, e.g., Next time I speak on ethnography I want to include the pictures from our last user observation….
The details for the SCORRE framework and its application are explained in the book titled The Secrets of Dynamic Communication.
The Importance of the Objective
When product managers are asked to speak on a topic, such as the product roadmap or the findings of market research, they are already given the Subject and Central Theme of the presentation. Consequently, most presentation prep begins with constructing the Objective. Instead of focusing on what you want to share, first ask what you want the audience to do when the presentation is done. This will be centered around a verb – I want you to buy, I want you to go do, etc. An example of a training-oriented presentation is “We can build the next version of Product XYZ” while an example of a persuasion-oriented presentation is “We should build the next version of Product XYZ.” If the audience already wants to take action, then you are likely preparing a training-oriented presentation. If you first need to convince the audience that action is needed, you are creating a persuasive presentation.
Rationale and Resources
Examples of rationale and resources, along with other examples of the SCORRE framework are discussed in the interview with Curtis.
To learn more about creating effective presentations, Listen to the interview with Curtis Fletcher on The Everyday Innovator Podcast.
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Chad McAllister, PhD is a product innovation guide, innovation management educator, and recovering engineer. He leads Product Innovation Educators, which trains product managers to create products customers love. He also hosts The Everyday Innovator weekly podcast, sharing knowledge from innovation thought leaders and practitioners. Follow him on Twitter.