ADAP â€“ Audience-Driven, Authentic-Presentations â€“ is the basic formula we teach clients to enable them to build and deliver winning presentations. In a recent conversation, it became obvious that unless they took into account all three segments of their â€œaudienceâ€, they could lose the deal. We thought weâ€™d discuss this issue so you can consider all three groups when making presentations.
The â€œaudienceâ€ often consists of three groups:
- The Presentation-audience, people present at the time of delivery. This is the group listening to you and/or reading your pitch-book â€“ whether face-to-face or in a webinar or a recording. They pay attention because they are interested in the topic and believe there will be some valuable content and that the communication media will be relatively engaging and comprehendible.
- The Decision-makers who are not at the presentation. They rely on both the presentation material provided and the first groupâ€™s analysis of the presenters, as well as other factors that should affect the decision, such as competitors, budgets, timing, etc.
- The Influentials. These are the formal and informal â€œtrusted advisorsâ€ that guide the other groups. For parties present at the presentation, their influentials help them assess the value of each of the issue and decide what should be shared with the decision-makers. For the decision-makers, their trusted advisors help weigh values and priorities before making final decisions.
Most presenters focus on the first group only. Obviously, if they donâ€™t understand your message and its urgency, both at a logical and emotional level, and are comfortable with the risks involved and trust the presenter and the presenting company, there will be no â€œsaleâ€ of the idea, product or service.
Obviously, this requires a good deal of groundwork — to understand the backgrounds, roles and interests of the Presentation-audience, the history of decision-making, and current forces affecting them. For instance, we once coached a company responding to a multimillion dollar construction opportunity. Our focus was on value engineering. We then discovered that the Vice Chairman was going to attend the presentation, and that he viewed this as his legacy project before retiring. As a result a major part of the presentation also covered specific issues of interest to this person!
However, in most cases, final decisions are not made by this group. Often they need to think through what they learned and their analysis with their influentials and/or the ultimate decision-makers. T his means they must share their analysis of the content, presenting company and the representative(s) with whom they will be working. In other words, they need to be able to re-communicate the original message effectively. This means they need to understand all the elements they want to communicate â€“ because if they donâ€™t, it will be lost â€“ and may adversely affect the final decision.
To do so, the original message needs to be succinct and easy to be re-presented. Use stories and analogies, easy to communicate numbers with statistical trends. When your presentation is full of jargon, uses complex numbers (e.g., too many digits), and contains lots of distractive clutter, then there is a great chance that the other audiences will not experience the presentation you intended!
Making sure your presentation passes the â€œre-presentingâ€ test requires more time as you need to test it yourself. Reading the draft presentation yourself, is unlikely to give the right answer. Sharing your draft only with immediate colleagues â€“ people who lack the perspectives of the influentials and decision-makers, may mean that the influentials and decision-makers will not get the complete set of messages you intended. Also include enough time and work with other people (presentation professionals and others outside your immediate domain) who can help you make sure that these other groups will appreciate the complete value of the original presentation.
What are your experiences with how influentials and decision-makers understand the â€œoriginalâ€ presentation and affect the final decision? Share with us. hgh pros and cons