Originally published as Powerful Points for your Next Presentation in FM World Magazine, December 6, 2016.
By Jon Isaacson
Getting ‘buy-in’ on a particular project or initiative often rests on how well you present your case. You may also be required to speak to potential clients, or present to an external audience to share best practice with peers. Here, Jon Isaacson shares his tips for creating value rather than wasting time when addressing your audience.
As a facilities manager, you are a salesperson.
You are constantly marketing your value to the organisation and selling the projects that you know are critical to keeping the lights on for your company. It may not be often that the FM department is invited to make a presentation, but these meetings with executives, department heads, team meetings or even to groups outside of the organisation are a great opportunity to get your strategic message across.
However, there’s a fine line between an effective presentation and a waste of time. Here are five key points:
1. Time is money
Time is critical. Knowing how much time one has is an essential parameter for structuring how many points you will want to focus on. You may have at most 5-10 minutes. Your presentation will have to gain momentum quickly to address a primary aspect of the service. Highlight one aspect of the service and complement it with a story that makes it relatable to the specific audience. If you have the time, pay more attention to tone and pacing to keep the audience engaged.
2. Who is your audience?
Is this a general audience? Or people that are familiar with your services? Does this group have specific needs that your company specialises in? Who you are speaking to and what areas you believe would be most effective to highlight are key components in crafting an engaging presentation. Aim to create value for your audience, and by educating it in an area that correlates to your organisation’s services, you can create indirect value for your organisation.
3. A bit about you
You might be tempted to talk extensively about your history and explain every detail of what your business does, but the value of this to your audience is inversely proportionate to the amount of time you may spend explaining these personal details. Introduce the organisation with enough personal details to relate to the demographic, before swiftly moving on to the main points.
4. Tailor your style
Making use of time and respecting the audience are key components to a good presentation. Know your goal for the meeting. If this presentation is for broad appeal to reach as many people as possible, then humour is always a friend. Your goal in a generic forum should be to create a knowledge void that draws additional interest from as many people as possible. For broad appeal, leave your audience with at least one nugget of value or piece of information; do this by presenting at least three key points that you believe will connect with as many people as possible. If you are aiming to grab a specific demographic or even a single client, then tailor your presentation to target them.
5. Keep practising
Work on developing your skills in those soft areas such as public speaking, communication and sales. FMs do all the work behind the scenes, so it is valuable to your organisation to be able to explain operations in a clear, concise manner. You are the first point of contact for marketing the services that you and your facilities team provide to your organisation.
When you have four children, Disney movies come with the territory...all of them. Every now and again, a decent one comes along. Every now and now and again one comes along that is done really well. For those of you that don't have kids and would feel creepy going to a movie theater to watch a children's movie, you may have missed Zootopia.
The brief backstory, there is a bunny, Judy Hopps, that wants to become a police officer. She is idealistic and ambitious but there has never been a bunny police officer on the Zootopia Police Department, her own parents believe the venture is too dangerous and no one believes that she can do it. As most children's stories go, the hardworking dreamer finds a way to achieve her goal, YAY! End of story, the movie is what we all thought it would be, right? Not quite.
Judy Hopps becomes a police officer, there is a big ceremony and this historic first is politically lauded while simultaneously scoffed under the breath of most. Our heroine shows up for duty her first day at the ZPD and while everyone else is assigned to beats that have significance, young Hopps is assigned to lowly parking duty. Her boss, Chief Bogo declares, "Life isn't some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and your insipid dreams magically come true, so let it go." Parking duty it is.
I'll try not to ruin the story too much but in short, Judy has a dream that has been laughed at since she was a child and even discouraged by her own parents. Ms. Hopps is able to find a way to achieve her dreams but once she makes it she finds there are still hills to climb if her dream is going to be fully realized. She excels in her original assignment and finds a means to acquire an assignment of significance that also comes with great personal risk. Officer Hopps has some initial success but reaches a point where she is ready to quit until she receives some inspiration and valuable assistance from an unlikely friend. Judy reaches what should be the pinnacle by cracking a case that no one else was able to solve. She is celebrated as a hero she is commemorated by the establishment but also makes a well intentioned blunder. She publicly putts her rabbit foot in her mouth in a big way, which proves to be a mistake that ripples into broad reaching negative impacts. Judy faces new challenges to deepen her understanding of what is important, to restore relationships, to find the resolve to create solutions as well as fight for success in the pursuit of her dreams.
The philosophy of life so often promoted is that of get rich or die trying, when the reality is that the quality of life is a richer pursuit than becoming the next mega millionaire. Regardless of the end goal, the journey to any level of success is not one large hill with an epic battle to the top it is a series of hills with many battles, surviving many deaths and continuing momentum when each sequence reveals a new set of challenges. With Zootopia the takeaway isn't as much the often repeated, if you have a dream you can achieve it but a more apt overview of life where you may achieve it but that doesn't mean the battle is over. Keep doing good things.
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - More than coaching and consulting, we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer. #MTWSL
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