Being Proactive: Separate the Signal from the Noise

Home » Presentations and Communication » Being Proactive: Separate the Signal from the Noise

How thoroughly does your presentation address the range of issues involved in the decision-making?

For instance, imagine you’re going to be 65, the “traditional age of retirement”, and you’re wondering whether to retire. You’re in great health, love your job, and have no concrete plans to do anything specific if you stopped. Your spouse isn’t planning on retiring at the same time, so the two of you could adapt a new lifestyle (e.g., traveling, moving etc.) and the kids are still in school using up some of the income you’re earning.

Looking at these variables, three are several considerations:

  • How do I feel about the current situation: Do I feel the need to change or continue to work?
  • How do I feel about the potential future situation: Do I have a vision of the “Future-me” that’s more or less attractive, than how I feel about my current situation?
  • How do I feel about change itself?  While inertia suggests I make no changes, a strong desire for change might propel me to make a change?

These three sets of forces are at play for millions of Boomers; every day, 10,000 people in the US turn 65.
At some level, they’re thinking about them.

They also are in play whenever a business presentation takes place: does the audience want to stop what  they’re doing? Is the new option compelling enough to change? How change-ready is the audience?

So the next time you accept the invitation to make a presentation, see the world through your audience’s eyes. Your specific message is the Signal to which they need to pay attention. The Noise is the other factor that affects decision-making in general. To proactively make a decision, we need to understand the Noise-context and then process the unique Signal – the specific new information that allows us to change. Getting Input from others – peers, experts, coaches, etc. may help you separate the two.