Did you ever have this experience? You and a friend hear a speaker in either a business or social situation and you each come away with a different reaction to that person? You: “I thought he was really interesting!” Your friend: “How could you say that? I was so bored by him!” Who is right? Was the person interesting or was he boring? The answer, of course, is both of you are right and neither of you is correct. How can that be?
Assuming good content, a presenter’s impact is a matter of satisfying the preferred communication /thinking styles of the listener. Everyone is a mix of styles, but some people are more data, process, and detail oriented. Some people are more long-term, conceptual big picture thinkers. Some are more strictly here and now bottom-line oriented. And still others are more people and feelings oriented.
Good memorable anchors for these preferred styles are:
- Sherlock Holmes, Data
- Steve Jobs, Big Picture
- Donald Trump, Bottom-line
- Oprah, People
Something for Everyone
When you present, particularly to a group where there is bound to be a mix of preferred styles it is important that you go beyond your own preferred style and have something to satisfy everyone in your presentations.
- Talk about how you do what you do
- What the long-term impact will be on the company
- How easy people will find what you are recommending is (or how supported, if not easy), and
- Always provide the bottom-line results listeners can expect
This seems obvious, but when we slip into our own preferred presenting style, then, as the opening scenario suggested, we miss reaching everyone in our audience and inadvertently jeopardize our chances for winning business or creating the change that we want.
Today More Important Than Ever
Scan the business literature today and look at your own experience and you know there are many more people involved in a purchasing decision. While everyone is a combination of all four styles, it is obvious that C-Suite execs, IT professionals, line managers, purchasing agents, HR execs will tend to have different preferred thinking styles. Your presentation message needs to satisfy all of them. When you are done, each should feel that your argument was totally persuasive.