After six months of intensive teamwork at locations around the world, the results are eventually available. The yield of new data is far greater than the original order requires. Many additional surprises are also worth communicating. In any case, in order to get appreciated for the over-fulfilment of the task, the additional insights should also be shared. However, clients expect effective solutions for their current troubles. Despite the additional news, it is important to get to the point that is expected.
The effective presentation of conclusions is a challenge in itself – the right wording, the expressive pictures, and the coherent spreadsheets. For getting to the point, the following aspects help.
- Substantial compactness
The crux of developing a presentation is deciding on how much information is needed or should be supplied. As many overviews as necessary should be presented to convey the findings. For not overloading the target group’s receptivity, however, only the necessary should be prepared – no more than seven plus minus two topics.
- As good as it gets
Each elaboration pursues a purpose. But only those facts should be presented, which are considered correct and which can be proven. The coherence arises from a complete chain of cause and effect. Every gap gives cause for doubt. Attentive presenters know what fits together and where the reasons weaken slightly – if you cannot prove your proposition, you should be able to explain what makes it so difficult to provide evidence.
As interesting as some results are, they are not relevant for everyone. Preference should be given to content that matters for the target group. Other important aspects can be mentioned, but not discussed in detail, because listeners switch off on issues that they do not care and thus miss out on the topics that are relevant to them. It is best to anticipate the individual stakeholders, focus on the related issues and avoid the aspects that are not likely to make a contribution – loaded keywords (e.g. costs, leadership responsibility, productivity), stigma words (e.g. fight, loss, compliance) or abbreviations and abstract terms that create a lack of understanding.
- In the right tone
In any case, the content should be presented as clearly as possible in the language of the target group. The individual corporate areas speak their own language, at least, a technical jargon. Ambiguities are difficult to understand, and you lose control over your message – those presenters, who know what they want to convey, should introduce the content in simple and unambiguous language. Explanations should only be as detailed as they ensure that the results are understood – even if you have more to say and there are good places for lengthy anecdotes. Presented processes and causal relationships should be described coherently without breaks and voids.
To take the opportunity to point out any additional insights, it is suggested to mention the additional findings at the end of the presentation and to offer a follow-up meeting.
Bottom line: Presentations suffer too much from too little or from much too much. It is difficult to limit yourself to the essentials, especially when you have developed so much more. The original order creates orientation. The results should provide the findings in a digestible compactness. Even if there are other topics that one would like to present to the respective group of people, only expected and proven results should be reported. The decisive factor is the interest of the target group. The appropriate amount and an understandable language help to make the contents clear. It is advisable to resist the impulse to verbosity and ambiguity. A presentation is successful, if it strikes the right note and fits the respective situation. All this helps to get to the point.
The best offer is the package that supplies the customer with the best result. Afterwards, even the latest knows what this is. The difficulty is the blur of the potential customer needs and the first proposals of the bidder. In the early phases of the contact both parties don’t know each other sufficiently. Therefore it is important to bring the ideas into a form that makes the selection easy for the customer. Does the customer get what one has or what he wants?
For all offerers it is crucial to accept that there is no other objectivity in dealing with the customers but their subjectivity. For this reason the components of the offer should be peryouficated. The following items help.
- Put off the eyeglasses!
In the first step it is important to let go the own filters that obstruct the neutral look at the customers. The colored eyeglasses affect not only the contrast between the aspects, but extract certain colors. Your own experience, knowledge and hypothesis manipulate the same way, what you notice with a customer and its topics. Unfortunately you cannot escape completely from your own mental models, since you only understand what you already know. Examples are the terms that are available to you and always need the context, in order to have the chance of being understood: Realization, groundwork, values, measures, effluvium/affluvium, mesmerization as well as any other terms. Therefore, always put off the eyeglasses!
- Put on the eyeglasses!
In the second step you focus on understanding the customer. Without your own bias you recognize your counterpart more easily. You observe the nonverbal messages of the body language and empathize. At this moment it is not only a matter of answering but also of experiencing the said, including the corresponding feelings (e.g. faster breath or heart beat in difficult situations). You recognize thereby, where the customers see their benefit. These are at first sight rather functional advantages. However, often these are more emotional advantages. The value of a service appears after you consider the required sacrifices of the customer. This is mostly not the price of the deliverable, but the accompanying expenditures for the realization, like necessary, internal means and employees. Thus a clear picture arises within shortest time. If you take over the acquired hue of the customer, you see from then on the topic with his eyes. Therefore, put on the eyeglasses!
In the third step it is a matter of translating your offer in such a way to the customer that he can assess it from his own view and hopefully will make the right choice. The appropriate word selection can be derived from the usual formulations. This step we simply call peryoufication (derived from per you = through the counterpart and fication = make). For this purpose you do not describe what you as an offerer know, have and are able to do, but what the customer learns, gets and will be able to do. Let’s look at the following two examples of proposals.
<1) Our specialists analyze the situation, develop alternative solutions and provide professional business models. We master the newest methods, know all legal conditions and future challenges.>
Peryouficated could look like this one.
<2) You receive a clear assessment of your starting position and a selection from meaningful options, in order to make your business fit for the pending tasks. You learn effective procedures, fulfill reliably the legal requirements and you sustainably successful.>
With whom would you rather collaborate?
Even if the examples seem to be both and simple at first sight, sooner or later you recognize the difference. In the real world further aspects are added, like e.g. the appropriate word choice, the personal behavior, and the dressing. In any case it is better to focus on the view of the customers, than on yourself.
Bottom line: Regardless of your field of expertise it is favorable to consider and formulate the tasks from the perspective of the customer. This will makes it easier for the customer to understand and valuate an offer and to decide for it. PERYOU the customer gets what he wants.