Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why be simple when complex will do?

A quick list of often forgotten tips that I like to remind myself of before presenting work to a client:


Entrance strategy
A client decides whether they like you in the first fifteen seconds you enter a room. Absolute fact. So, how much time have you spent on your introduction?

Overstated...but the reality is, a client will do business with someone they like. They need to connect with us as people as well as professionals. So build rapport. Don’t walk in, set up and start showing self absorbed slides. Ask questions about the business problem, show genuine interest and demonstrate expertise in similar scenarios.

Body Language
Are you prepared to deal with hostile body language? Do you know what to do when a client is unresponsive? Break their pattern. Have a strategy ready to deal with difficult clients. Oh and maintain eye contact. We like and gravitate towards people who are confident enough to look us in the eye when we speak.

There’s a unique phenomenon that we’ve all experienced ... Awkwardness dealing with someone whose name we have forgotten (or can’t remember). Make sure you get to know everyone’s name in the room. You make a more powerful impression when you can talk to someone directly using their name.

You're Selling What?
Are we selling a process? I hope not. That’s telling, not selling. Are we selling a solution? Everyone is selling a solution. Let’s make sure we’re attuned to the needs of the client and what will move them above and beyond our competitors.

Know Your Audience
Great speakers find out everything they can about their audience before presenting. Speak to the interests of your audience in a language they understand and engage them through relevant content and delivery style.

Psychologically speaking
Our capacity for information retention is quite limited. We’re lucky if we get four (at maximum) points retained in a client’s short term memory after a meeting. Have you worked out the primary point(s) you’re trying to get across in a presentation? So, what do plan to leave the client thinking after your presentation? ‘Geez, those guys get it. And they’ve clearly done this before with great results for other clients. I’m comfortable they’re the right group for us. And I liked the guy talking about Bruce Lee. Sharp.’

Use The Stage
Find two spots in a room from which to speak from. One is your main stage from which 90% of your info is delivered from. But when you need to deliver one of your four core points (eg ‘Hire us, we have brilliant designers’) you should move to the other spot. Say it, move back. The client will associate (and remember) those impact statements more than the 150+ slides you read out to them.

Don't Talk To A Slide
It's not talking to you

You Have Four Seconds
When a person has to read a powerpoint’ve failed. The average person looks at a powerpoint slide for around three to four seconds starting in the top left hand corner. They scan for an area of interest, settle for a second or two, then move on. A slab of text or complex diagram is not an area of interest. If it’s important ... You must interact with the client and verbalise (it’s even better if you can make them say it..double the retention power! Christian is brilliant Christian is a design god)

A Picture Says A Thousand Words
So we write a thousand and one? No. Use a picture. Move them.

Retention of concepts and ideas is improved when multiple senses are engaged. Maybe you could sing them a big idea? (then again, maybe not). Think about how to engage beyond the normal. Stay front of mind. Be unique.

There’s an artform to selling complex ideas in. If I knew someone who could tell you how to do it, I would ask them to explain. But I don’t know anyone. You’ll have to figure it out yourself I suppose. I’m sure it’s simple though.

Say Less Than Necessary
Robert Green wrote this describing the common habits of great leaders in history ‘Great leaders say less than necessary, not more. When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.’

Power. Through simplicity.


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