I recently attended a presentation for HR leaders. The topic was how to make the transition to becoming a Chief HR Officer. The presenter had 30+ years of experience in the HR industry. He was engaging. He had good stories and insights to share. But unfortunately, he didn’t have a clue when it came to his audience.
His presentation consisted of 45 slides:
– 17 photos of men, 1 photo of a woman
– 10 analogies, all related to sports
– 40 HR leaders, 33 women and 7 men (including him)
These ratios aren’t a fluke. There are a lot of women in HR.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a “man hater”—I’m married to a man and I’m raising two sons.
And, I actually enjoy a good sports analogy. But at a certain point I stopped engaging with this presenter’s message, because he hadn’t geared his message to his audience. Seeing photo after photo of successful men doesn’t inspire me. And, he lost me at the fifth sports analogy–most of us in Seattle are not fans of the New England Patriots.
This presenter missed a huge opportunity, but you don’t need to do the same.
Before you engage with employees, clients, or prospects…seek to understand your audience. Know who they are before you walk into the room, pick up the phone, or send an email. (Hubspot has a great template to create personas for your audience. And we’re in luck…the sample persona they use is for a Head of HR.)
Don’t just rely on who your own thoughts or assumptions about HR.
Talk to colleagues and people like me, who have worked in the field of HR. I can help answer questions about what might resonate (or not) with your HR audience. No, you can’t please everyone. And no, you don’t have a crystal ball about your customers. But you have to try.
If you don’t make some effort to connect with and understand your audience based on who they are and what they value, you risk losing them before you’ve even started.