How to Encourage Improved Performance

When a person acquires new skills and knowledge, it's important to apply those skills on the job. Managers and coworkers can have a great impact on whether a person continues to apply what was learned.

This workshop focuses on preparing and delivering a short, effective talk on a specific topic—an elevator speech. Here are specific ways to encourage a person to apply skills from the workshop:

Ask what the person learned about elevator speeches
  • Ask the person to describe an elevator speech.
  • Ask what aspects of his or her job might benefit from an elevator speech.
  • Ask what value he or she sees in being able to deliver an elevator speech.
Ask him or her to demonstrate
  • Have the person select a topic, identify a audience role for you, and deliver an elevator speech to you in that role.
  • Try delivering an elevator speech of your own to this person while he or she uses the workshop's critique checklist.
Check whether the person is applying the new skills
  • Ask periodically whether the person has found opportunities to apply the skills.
  • Help the person identify an upcoming occasion for preparing and delivering an elevator speech.
  • Ask about any practice the person has done, alone or with a partner, to strengthen skills.
Actively encourage efforts to apply what was learned
  • Look for evidence that the person is applying the skills.
  • Ask if the person has done so. If not, inquire about the reason.
  • Describe the value you see in applying skill and knowledge from the workshop.
Reinforce successful efforts to deliver effective elevator speeches
  • If the person previously showed little skill in speaking briefly and effectively on a topic, it's especially important to acknowledge initial efforts to improve.
  • State what you observed and why it matters.
    • E.g., "It's tempting to try and get everything in , but you're doing well by checking to see if your listener is interested before you offer details."
  • Avoid false praise, but encourage progress toward improved performance.
Provide constructive feedback for unsuccessful efforts
  • Use calm, objective, specific, non-judgmental language.
  • Encourage the person to analyze the situation and discuss his or her assessment with you.
  • Avoid "you should have" language; focus instead on the future.
    • E.g., "What would you want to do differently in a similar situation?"
Emphasize the value of flexibility and preparation
  • Remind the person that an elevator speech should sound organized but not canned or memorized.
  • Discuss how he or she might tailor remarks for different audiences or situations.
  • Watch for situations in which the person could deliver an elevator speech to you in your actual role.
    • For example, as a supervisor or colleague, you might ask for an update on some aspect of the person's project. Offer feedback on what you hear.