When my three kids were young, Toys R Us was one of their favorite outings. Not so much for me. Don’t get me wrong–I enjoyed being in on the big reward for saving up their allowance and redeeming Grandpa and Grandma’s gift certificates. (They didn’t have gift cards back then.) The not-so-much-fun part was running the zone defense with their dad and not letting it turn into a half-day ordeal. John covers Patrick and Timmy; I stay with Kelsey, the youngest. And the easiest. Kelsey races ahead of me just enough to test the “No running!” rule. She knows what….
Dallas Cowboys Coach Tom Landry began football camp every year by holding up a football and saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Celebrated UCLA basketball coach John Wooden’s first lesson for new players each year was teaching them precisely and specifically how to put on their socks and tie their shoes. “Wrinkles cause blisters. Blisters mean you don’t play. And if you don’t play, we cannot win,” he reasoned. Two record setting and record-breaking coaches believed so strongly in the value of going back to the basics that they did so every year. I’m going to give it a try….
People have the same two reasons for everything they do. They are: 1. The real reason. 2. The reason that sounds good. The real reason is emotional, based on feelings. The reason that “sounds good” is full of facts and logic, used to justify the decision. That’s why, in a logic-versus-emotion smack-down, emotion wins. Every time. Don’t believe me? Ask your neighbor why he bought that expensive new car. You’ll likely hear him quote Consumer Reports for gas mileage, resale value or safety ratings, right? Sounds good, but you know better. You know your neighbor sees that car more like….
Congratulations! You or your firm made it to the short list. It’s between you and who-knows-how-many other folks who do the voodoo you do. Woo-hoo! Let the fun begin. Or maybe not? You may have anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to give your presentation. Ugh. How do you convince anyone of anything in 30 minutes? You may have anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks to create and rehearse your presentation. Rehearse? You mean “talk about it in the car on the way over.” Input? If it’s a team presentation, and you’re in charge of pulling the pitch….
Don’t get me wrong. Despite my rants about the power of emotion, I don’t hate facts and logic. Facts, studies, numbers, step-by-step logical explanations and reasons are the go-to, default tool we all use whenever we need to support a recommendation, make a point, justify a decision, sell an idea. Facts are my friends, honest. However–you knew that was coming, right?–facts are not necessarily the slam dunk, double dog sure way to get the response you’re looking for. Why? Because facts can be cold and preachy. Numbers, percentages–even when presented as pie charts–can be mind numbing. Statistics? Don’t get me started…..
“Are there any questions?” That’s how most people close a presentation, pitch or meeting. It’s seems perfectly natural. If there was something that wasn’t quite clear, the Q&A is the perfect time for you to clarify. You don’t want to leave them confused. No way, not you. Or, perhaps a question might spark more discussion. They want you to go into more depth. That feels good, doesn’t it? You get to show off a little bit right there at the end, speaking extemporaneously about things you didn’t have time to include in the first part. If you’re presenting at a….
Just days after New Year’s, my daughter and I were talking about making and breaking resolutions. She said hers would be easy to keep. She wanted to cook-in more. Kelsey is in her last semester of graduate school and races between school, internship, work and the gym, eating or munching on the run, or standing at the kitchen counter in her apartment. I took a deep breath, pondering whether I should just say, “That’s a good one, sweetie,” wearing my Mommy Hat, or tell her what I really thought, wearing my Business Hat. I managed both. “That’s a good one,….