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Success Stories

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Nani McDonnell
(Vice President of Accounts Management, PointClickCare)

Nani McDonnell Success Story

PointClickCare provides innovative cloud-based technology to the senior care industry, helping them meet their challenges and allowing them to enrich the lives of their residents, improve financial and operational health, and mitigate risk. The company prides itself on taking a person-centered approach to managing senior care.

As Vice President of Account Management for PointClickCare, Nani McDonnell's team measures client satisfaction, develops client relationships and ensures clients are successfully optimizing their usage of PointClickCare's solutions.

With a very important presentation coming up about the client experience at PointClickCare, Nani sought help with her presentation skills. "I'm not a comfortable presenter," she says. When she asked her boss for help, he immediately suggested Kristi. "He had worked with her before, most recently when she facilitated a presentation skills workshop at a previous company, and recommended her highly."

Working Backwards, From Audience to Presentation

"I needed to know how to deliver a message to a large group of people in a way that would keep them engaged while getting a lot of information across." Nani's audience would include people from every part of the company, with different levels of understanding.

Kristi surprised Nani a bit when she started at the end and worked her way backwards. Nani says, "But it made sense, really, to start by defining my goal for the presentation, and what succeeding would look like." This included discussion about what common understanding the audience had, and what they needed to end up knowing. Once they had decided what it was Nani wanted to accomplish, they could move on to the content of the presentation.

Developing the Message and Content

Left to her own devices, Nani says that she would have gone into much greater detail in her talk. "I like talking about the details; I'm quite comfortable with it." But with Kristi's help she recognized that she would lose her audience if she went too deep, and that it was more important to get her core message across.

When Nani would get lost, Kristi always brought her back by reminding her to think about her audience and what she was trying to convey. And, "She would remind me that it was wise to leave them wanting more."

"Kristi also helped me to come up with stories that I could weave into the presentation." Since the talk had to do with client experiences, Nani found stories from residents at partner facilities, and from her own life.

She was inspired by how vulnerable and moving Sheryl Sandberg's presentations were after her husband passed. "It showed how much you can relate to someone who gives a piece of themselves, so I tried to do that a little bit in my presentation." Nani included stories about her family and relatable anecdotes about Starbucks and Nordstrom in order to connect to her audience.

Practicing Increases Confidence and Success

Practice is the key to comfort on stage. "Kristi really helped me understand the value of practice and preparation." Kristi was there every step of the way, working through Nani's presentation over the phone and via Skype. One of the things Kristi reminded Nani was to slow her speech down, and pause. Nani says, "You just don't realize how much faster you are talking when you are presenting, and it's hard for the audience to understand you like that. But the other thing is, when you force yourself to slow down, it also seems to calm your nerves. Or at least, it did for me." Nani says she still didn't make the intended length of her talk, ending about ten minutes earlier than planned.

"Kristi helped me to define the goal of my talk, find stories to engage my audience, practiced with me over and over again, and gave me the tools I need to be more confident.
I would say that anyone who has to present would benefit from working with Kristi!"

Staying Cool When Things Go Sideways

"I'm not all that quick on my feet when I'm put on the spot, like in a presentation situation." But Kristi knew that if Nani was really well prepared it would be much easier for her to handle the unexpected.

"This ended up helping me so much! I had planned to look for several friends in the audience and make eye contact with them, and to generally watch other faces for reactions so that I could pivot if I needed to in order to keep them engaged. Well, it turns out that the way the lighting was set up I couldn't see the audience at all. Nothing. That plan backfired, but because we practiced so much I was okay." The other thing that surprised Nani was the amount of questions the audience had at the end. "I was a little nervous, because we hadn't really been able to prepare for them, but it actually went great."

Public Speaking Success

Kristi was really good with gently prodding Nani and keeping her on time. "It was easy for me to get lost in my day-to-day. Plus, I procrastinate that kind of stuff because it's really hard for me and she kept me on track without making me stressed and without making me feel like I was out of time. It was the right amount of pressure." About her confidence level, Nani says, "It's not constant, or a switch that I can turn on, but Kristi has taught me what I need to do to get my confidence up."

"I would definitely recommend Kristi to anyone who has an important presentation coming up, whether the audience is small or large!"

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