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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Yokotan and Great presentations

Last week's Toronto Greenbelt class achieved $150,000 worth of savings.  This particular three day kaizen which focused on cycle time reduction yielded an average of 40% savings in change-over time.  The teams tackled the most problematic processes in the extrusion products, which formed the basis for the kaizen.

You've heard of the importance of sharing successes.  Lean thinking recognizes this fact and successful kaizens always follow up with "yokotan" - the sharing of learning and improvements across the organization so that all will benefit.  Part of a successful yokotan is being able to tell the story through a cogent, convincing presentation.  In the Greenbelt Program, participants have the opportunity to hone their presentation skills.

Here are five tips that we suggest participants keep in mind for a polished presentation.

  1. Near the beginning of your presentation, ensure there is a slide highlighting the key takeaways your audience should get out of the presentation. If you are not using Powerpoint, simply verbalize them. This helps your audience identify what to listen for.
  2. Display your presentation on both the projector screen and your laptop, then try to only look at the laptop when talking to the audience. Try to avoid the tempation to look at the screen, since this means that you will end up turning your back to the audience.
  3. To minimize the inevitable "fidgeting", hold a pen (that doesn't click) or something else in your hand so that your mind can just focus on talking. 
  4. Don't memorize an entire speech.  Just have your most important points at the top of your mind or on cue cards. Your presentation will be more natural and you will feel more at ease because you won't be trying to regurgitate every single word.
  5. Conclude your presentation by summarizing your main takeaways. This serves to drive home your point and close the circle from beginning to end.
As you can see from the photos below, these skills can help any lean leader to confidently and clearly deliver their message.

How much importance do you place on the delivery of the message?

Suggested readings: Crucial Conversations - Stephen R. Covey, How to Improve Your Presentations

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