Stand Out

Q. How much should we say in a presentation?- depends what the customer wants

It’s all about knowing your audience isn’t it? If you don’t know what will ‘fit’ for them, you’re almost always forced into a detailed presentation- or an overview presentation as Olivia Mitchell has usefully labelled such a thing. It’s a real dilemma for presenters, illustrated by the following example.

I was working with a UK based Consumer Insight team of world renown (I think it used to be called market research) recently, who had had a bad experience presenting back their research findings to a Global Executive at an automotive firm, who’d kicked them out of the meeting for taking too long to get to the point. They expressed their confusion thus.

‘We’ve been paid £2m to research what consumers want from this client’s next car. We can’t just go back to them and say, ”Big, safe, environmentally friendly and 7 seats…”, can we…?’

My thoughts were, that the Marketing Director of ‘Global gas guzzlers’ (and in my experience, most very senior clients) would want the key points, supported by as little detail as possible- in the presentation, but with the option of ‘going deep’ if he wanted to…  and all of that detail provided later in support materials should his in-house team want the ‘workings out’.

But unless we ask, before we meet them, we don’t know… And this one habit of ‘phoning, emailing or meeting your key audience members in advance and asking them 2 things-

1- what they want to be included (from a list if that helps them)
2- what they don’t want to hear

Helps enormously in engaging them, and guiding you to say less, more powerfully in less time- thereby making you stand out from the mass of people who don’t ask, and start at slide 1 and end at slide 457…. zzzzzzz

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey
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