Microsoft Business Applications & Platform x Speak for Success

Microsoft Business Applications & Platform x Speak for Success

Speak for Success partnered with Microsoft Business Applications & Platform (BAP) to provide ongoing public speaking and communications skills training to their team of emerging leaders to help them:

  1. improve their level of speaking confidence as well as 
  2. learn new communication strategies and techniques

The goal was to help them become more effective in their roles and avoid common communication mistakes that emerging leaders tend to make early in their career, such as:

  • failing to flag issues early on leading to missed deadlines
  • mismanagement of expectations, leading to disappointed clients/internal teams
  • poorly delivered presentations due to lack of organization and/or preparation 
  • avoidance of leadership opportunities that require public speaking 

Microsoft BAP also wanted to provide equitable opportunities for leadership development among it’s emerging women leaders in order to: 

  • further develop its gender-diverse leadership pipeline 
  • facilitate employee engagement among women (specifically, when it comes to them seizing leadership opportunities that require public speaking)
  • ensure the retention of top women talent 

Here’s how we worked together to support their team. 👇🏻


Step 1: Discovery (Complete)

We interviewed Microsoft BAP leadership team to identify the most common communication challenges facing its team and then determined the topics to focus on during training.

Step 2: Internal Workshop Series (Ongoing)

Once the topics were identified, training sessions were delivered to four different employee groups over a period of 6-8 months. The topics included: 

  • Leadership Presence: Projecting Confidence Through Movement, Voice & Vocabulary
  • Presenting To Upper Management With Confidence & Credibility
  • Managing the Questions & Answer Period  
  • Strategies for Managing the Question & Answer Period
  • Impromptu Speaking: Communicating with Clarity & Structure
  • Techniques for Setting Boundaries & Saying ‘No’
  • Delivering Feedback (Without Burning Bridges)
  • Navigating Difficult Conversations 

Step 3: Annual Membership Program via the TeamPass (Ongoing)

While the internal workshop series was an effective way to introduce new topics and techniques to the team, there were consistent requests for more opportunities to practice. Some participant comments included:

  • “I really loved the exercises during the break out rooms. We want more practice!”
  • “More time to practice!”
  • “Looking forward to the next session – need time to practice – practice is the best real way to implement – practice makes perfect -> therefore please have more time to practice ;)”
  • “Exercises in breakout rooms were the most valuable thing!”

In response to participant feedback, Microsoft BAP enrolled over 100 of its emerging women leaders in the Annual Membership Program to give them the opportunity to keep practicing their public speaking and communication skills throughout the year.

Activities & Outcomes

To date, the partnership has achieved the following:

of our participants recommend our training to a friend or colleague.

“completely agree” our training provided them with actionable techniques they could immediately apply at work.


workshops delivered


active participants

22 hours

of training and support provided


teams trained

Note: Outcomes from the Annual Membership Program to be added mid-year.

Partner Feedback

Ruth Aisabokhae, PhD.

Chief of Staff, Microsoft, Insights Apps

"The experience with Speak for Success was impactful and I would highly recommend it. We enjoyed the interactive sessions and went away with tangible and eye-opening insights and concrete actionable next steps. The fresh perspectives shared by speakers and then hands-on practice in breakout rooms made this experience unique and superb. I would run these series all over again in my next group!​"

Kara Cortez

Kara Cortez

Lead of BAP Early Career group, Microsoft

"Speak for Success was a fantastic series of workshops, and I am looking forward to planning more opportunities for my group. The range of topics covered in this series makes it easy for anyone to find an area where they feel they could improve their communication skills. The sessions are enjoyable because they are educational and interactive, allowing us to practice the techniques we learned together as a group. I highly recommend this program to anyone who is looking to develop their communication skills in a safe and collaborative environment!"

Uzma Arjuman

Senior Software Engineer, Microsoft

"The content was great and included very practical tips and frameworks that could be easily applied in day-to-day communication in the workplace. I loved how the live workshops were tailored to our audience in terms of domain and experience so that everyone could find something useful to learn. Communication skills are critical in determining professional success and the training provided by Speak for Success was undoubtedly a great resource for our team to achieve that!"

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