“Slow down” doesn’t work. Here are some alternatives

Yes, slowness signals mastery.  Being rushed and out of control doesn’t.

So many communications professionals (PR, Exec Comms, Internal Comms, Event producers) desperately want and need your leadership and stage talent to demonstrate mastery, presence and clarity and you give feedback to that end…over and over.

“Slow down” you say. 

“It would be better if you slowed down” you offer.

“Try to slow down” you suggest and yet…no change in your Exec’s delivery.

Instead they nod their head, say thanks for the feedback and bounce right back to what they were doing before.  Rushing, looking a little frantic and letting the content feel just a little out of control.

So what now?

“You’re going to fast” is feedback.  “Go slow” is direction, but useless you can unlock the phrase that links to the “how” for your Exec or client, it won’t go anywhere.  When you can find that phrase that takes the feedback into something that produces a different outcome and empowers the client to DO something differently, then it becomes coaching.  So how do you do that?

Look for what surrounds and informs the rushed or frantic approach to your Exec’s communication delivery.  For example, is your Executive a perfectionist?  Does she value quick results?  Is she impatient?  Does she want to KNOW NOW? Does she process information externally?  Is she dedicated to the details?

Listed for how your client talks about work.  Use the language of her leadership to access the phrases that let her navigate HOW she’ll slow down on stage and bring a considered, thoughtful and impactful delivery to the content you worked so hard to create for her and with her.

Here are some alternatives:

  • “Wait until you know exactly the way you want to say it, then say it.” (for the perfectionist)
  • “Not everyone is moving as quickly as you, speak to us like we’re students.” (for the quick results leader)
  • “Be patient with yourself as you take your time.” (for the impatient leader)
  • “Let yourself really listen to what you’re saying” (for the external processor)
  • “Carefully choose the details you want us to know. Pick only the ones that really matter” (for the detail focused leader)

All of these coaching prompts can unlock the HOW your talent “goes slow” and that’s where you take a piece of feedback and turn it into a coaching conversation and unlock what works to get the outcome you BOTH want.



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