tisdag 28 maj 2013

"We will" vs "we have"

How often are we in the situation where we talk about the future and things to come for an audience we need committed in our cause? To reach there, there is a lot of "I will" and "we will" have to do. Arguments are hypothetical and examples are fictional. The rhetoric is perfect and the audience is "sold". Looking back, How many of these brilliant ideas really comes to life and sees the light of day? 

My own experience have given me some elements that increases the probability of commitment substantially.

Alternative today. If we hade it today how would it look like. Not in a year or five years, today. Make the homework and base any calculations or predictions on facts and not hypothetical assumptions. Yes it can be a lot of work but if you can not show that today's reality is the lesser of two comparable cases its hard to get engaged. Why would it be better in the future if it would not be better today, prove it based on facts and show what you "have" instead of what "will".

Actionable engagement. Make the calculation or prediction actionable. If the wanted situation is something we would prefer, what would we do then? Make it easy to feel engaged by leading the audience to the point where they know what they would do if they already had what you are pursuing. They should almost want to start doing it right there based on your calculations. 

Keep it short and repeat the punshline. If you can not explain it shortly it is not ready. Einstein said: If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough so nobody else will get it either (a bit modified). This is always very relevant so do not underestimate simplicity. Things do not catch on at once so repeat the punshline a couple of times. 

Do not say it with the presentation material. If you use PowerPoint, Keynote or equivalent media make sure you do not repete/say the content on the media. If you are lecturing you should be fine with only ONE word for each slide, yes one word. Chose a word that reflect the essence of the part of the topic you are going to talk about. It can even be a word like "fantastic" if that's what you want the audience to think. A relevant picture on each slide does the job as well. Keep it as minimalistic as possible. You should absolutely not need to look at the presentation to keep the "flow". 

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