Need People to DO Something as a Result of Your Presentation? Make Them Squirm a Little.

Jane was in two business meetings yesterday. Presentations were made by function heads in each one. Both were pretty standard business fare, but they had a very different result. One caused Jane to feel pretty good about the company and her future there. The other caused her to come to work early this morning to get busy changing something she didn’t like. Which was an effective presentation?

What was the difference?

The first presentation was about the previous quarter’s performance. The company did well on most of the key metrics that management felt important. The key message to the audience was that redoubled efforts to drive those metrics by the troops for the rest of the year would surely result in record bonus payouts.

The second presentation started with the function head describing her department’s forecast of the market for the next five years. Growth in the industry would be robust, but most of it would come from e-commerce. That was going to be a big problem for Jane’s company if it happened. Their e-commerce effort to date had been weak to say the least, and they stood to lose a good 10-20% of their business if they didn’t field a competitive offering soon. The only two viable solutions were to shift resources to ramp up their e-comm effort fast, or to cut costs to fund the acquisition of a company with competitive e-comm capabilities.

Guess what Jane was working on this morning?

Using the classic “Problem / Solution” construct in your presentations may make your audience a little uncomfortable. But it will also get results.

Check out this article from Harvard Business Review to learn how you can use this technique to be more effective with your next presentation.

Read the article: Harvard Business Review »