But Florian, in our company we don’t really have public speaking situations. We rather sit around a table and discuss topics using handout presentations.
True. If you are not an agile organization yet, this is the way business people do business. Imagine you are to give an update on the implementation of your marketing strategy. You have just begun to talk, when the CEO interrupts you and insists on jumping directly to page number 13. In a split second your flow is broken like a puberty heart.
Persuasive presentations need to flow like a mountain creek – from the wondrous well to the roaring river. Dams – like interruptions by the CEO – break the structural persuasive flow. Damn dams!
How can you avoid those dams?
Next time you are about to enter such a business-meeting situation with endless and unstructured and jumping discussions about your marketing strategy, do it differently.
At the beginning of the meeting, ask for a five-minute slot to present your ideas first. Even better, ask the meeting coordinator to add a five-minute slot to the agenda. When the meeting starts, politely insist on your initial slot. When everyone, including the CEO, has agreed on your slot, stand up (super important!) and give your five-minute persuasive presentation. If you use PowerPoint, create a second slide deck, a slide deck that doesn’t replace your speech, but complements it.
Without dams that mountain creek can flow smoothly. Once you sit down after five minutes, you will feel the difference: from endless and unstructured and jumping discussions to a more constructive conversation based on the robust arguments you built in your presentation.
Next time ask for five minutes. It’s worth a try.
Photo by Phil Houston