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.
In order for something to be a priority, that thing by definition must be of elevated importance. If everything is a priority then nothing is a priority and life slowly begins to lose meaning. So, maybe life doesn’t lose meaning when we fail to prioritize but life certainly struggles to find any sense of order and we struggle throughout the day to gain traction towards our goals. If you are in the habit of planning out your day, prioritizing your tasks and being productive with you time than you know the struggle that often occurs when there are too many fires too put out. If the village (your plan) is burning, there is only one hose and a limited water supply – where do you start?
The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. - Stephen Covey
Those who prioritize live in reality. Success starts with planning, without a plan there is no target. There is an ever widening expanse between the plans we make and the completion of those goals, if we do not make changes to get ahold of the void it will grow daily. That gray area in between reaching our destiny and falling into the expanse requires adaptation through prioritization. The plan is the intentional process that flows from our vision and through execution we move towards our intended outcome. Project management must always allow for flexibility as emergencies arise, components do not always function perfectly and elements outside of our control impact our trajectory. Prioritization is an essential mechanism that keeps our efforts on course and prevents adaptation from spiraling out of control. There is more than one way to find yourself trapped in the void of failure.
As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay or skip the rest. - Jessica Jackley
Create a daily plan – be intentional about how you are going to move towards your goals
Execute your plan – allow for flexibility and be prepared to adapt to the obstacles life throws at you
Prioritize your plan – keep yourself on vision and hitting your targets by governing yourself
If you are not in the habit of creating a daily plan for yourself, you are running in a hamster wheel that you will never get out of. If you are in the habit of making a plan but you do not allow for flexibility, you are headed for a heart attack. If you are in the habit of planning and adapting but you do not prioritize, you have a better hamster wheel than most but the hamster wheel is running you.
If you have a vision, make a plan and are intentional about hitting your target then prioritization is the methodology that will enable you to make your time effective. If after planning, adaptation and prioritization you still cannot get ahead then you will need to make changes to how you approach your tasks, for example get help or say no to projects, or else your hamster wheel will soon detach and you will plunge into the abyss.
For an example of how this is put into practice with project management, see how one team does so by making their schedule visible (HERE - includes Video). What have been some of the key lessons you have learned about prioritization?
Connect. Collaborate. Conquer.
In The DYOJO our goal is to help you discipline your mind and habits for growth. More info.