Over a decade ago, a client asked for a simple “lens” through which to filter all material in a presentation. After considerable thought and experimentation, we developed ADAP – Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentations.
Over the last weeks, we’ve been overwhelmed by the number of “students” – clients and colleagues – who’ve noticed how people giving advice on marketing and selling to people during this pandemic are realizing the importance of our formula.
The first part (AD) means that as a presenter you need to understand how the audience is going to respond to different types of information and styles of presenting it. What are the sensitivities that will alienate them? What are the hooks that will grab their attention?
For instance, in a recent Investor’s Business Daily article entitled Adjust Marketing Message in a Pandemic, a financial planner commented, “Our intent in marketing now is to figure out what we can do to help. It’s not to take advantage of the pandemic to sell. It’s trying to help people with specific timely issues such as how this will affect their kids going back to school in the fall and other questions that arise if this thing continues.”
The more you know about the parties you are addressing, the better you will do. Recently, a company that sells women’s fancy dresses for formal occasions, was up for sale. The Seller was unable to get its price because buyers were afraid of what’s happening in retail – significantly declining sales while Ecommerce grows. Reviewing the failure, we noticed what was missing in their AD analysis: the buyers were all men who knew that men wear tuxedos to many of these events and wear the same one over and over again for several years, as long as it fit. So, for them, this was a typical retail issue: buying a new product can be postponed. But women can’t wear the same dress “twice”! So this is not typical retail. With that, we changed the introduction to the presentation, asking new buyers how often they wore the same tuxedo and how often their significant others wore the same dress. When they laughed at the difference, we knew they now understood that this was not a typical retail situation. With that, the company sold for the price the seller wanted.
Another reason for the success was the second part of the formula: AP –authentic presentations. In this round of the presentations, the CEO – a woman – introduced her company and asked the question. A lot more authentic than had it been simply a fact in a 40+ page presentation!
So, after you’ve figured out what issues will drive the audience to make favorable decisions, figure out how to make the presentation truly authentic – what vulnerabilities, experiences will cement the connection. This is especially true now as people juggle health, safety, financial, systemic racial sensitivities, etc. in addition to the specific concerns for your product or service.