By Jim and Jenn Poage
You need to sell your work to perspective clients to get business; sell your results to get them accepted by clients, colleagues, and managers; and sell proposed ideas to managers and colleagues to get approval. When presenting their work, some people are able to energize their clients, colleagues, and managers and elicit an enthusiastic acceptance of their work, while others tend to "deflate" the room. What sets these notable people apart? The first group provides liveliness and energy in presenting and explaining their work, be it spoken, written, or graphic—while those in the second group do not! The successful workers engage clients and audiences emotionally, as well as rationally, and energize them to act.
There are two steps to presenting and explaining your work to energize your clients and audiences. The first is to understand the essence of what you are presenting from the perspective of how your audience will respond, and the second is to create a presentation of your work that energizes your audience to respond in the manner you desire.
What is the essence of your offering?
To define the essence of what you are offering, ask yourself how you want others to react to your message. Do you want a client to hire you? Do you want your results to be adopted, or do you want approval to expand or continue your work? Do you want approval to pursue a new idea?
Next, ask yourself what would cause your audience to act in the way you desire. Will they understand the value for them of adopting what you offer? Will they think that you have done or will do quality work? Will they think what you propose can be done? Will they believe that what you offer will make them look good or relieve their stress?
The answers to these questions will enable you to formulate a presentation with a rational component—meeting your audience’s needs—and an emotional component—making them look good or alleviating their stress and worries.
Six techniques to energize your audience to act in the manner you desire
You need to present your offering so it conveys the meaningful and emotional message that will energize your audience to act and adopt what you offer.
Below are six techniques to engage your clients and audiences in a meaningful and emotional manner that will energize them to act in the way you intend:
- Story—Present your work as a story. People pay attention to and remember stories. They fill in images and details to relate the story to their situation, and audiences bond together through a story since it provides a common basis for sharing. And, most importantly, people are motivated to act by a story. Possible story topics are how what you are presenting works, how it creates value for your audience, the ease with which it can be used, the stress or worries it eliminates, and how it will make your audience look good.
- Entertainment—Make your offering entertaining. When entertained, people get caught up in the topic. Some ways to entertain are: use pictures and figures to illustrate your points, put in a short history of your topic or approach, involve the audience through questions and soliciting comments, and use humor (if it relates to your topic).
- Experience—Create informative and pleasant experiences for your audience. A saying attributed to Confucius is, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” A powerful way to gain acceptance is to create the experience for your clients and colleagues of what it will be like to use what you present or to experience what it will be like if what you present is adopted. You can create an experience for your audience by presenting your work within a hypothetical scenario related to what your audience does that clearly shows what benefits can be achieved.
- Sincerity—Make sure anything you do to energize your audience sincerely reflects your offering. Avoid gimmicks such as jokes that do not relate to your presentation or putting 3-D, multi-color charts with graduated shading and glowing edges in PowerPoint.
- Excellence—Be sure your offering is high quality so it doesn’t disappoint. An energizing presentation will not cover up poor work. Be sure excellence spans throughout whatever you do—your results and how you present them. Excellence itself can energize your audience.
- Energy—Strive to energize your audience. Energy propels people to act and spread your message. Put passion and care into what you do and how you present.
The benefits of energizing clients are building an exceptional reputation, increasing sales, and selling at premium prices. Being an energizer will enable you to stand out and advance your career or business.
Jim Poage is co-author of Flair: Design Your Daily Work, Products, and Services to Energize Your Customers, Colleagues, and Audiences (Maven House). President of JLP Performance Consulting, he integrates technology and humans to work together safely and efficiently for NASA, FAA, and industry. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford. Visit jimpoage.com.
Jennifer Poage is co-author of Flair: Design Your Daily Work, Products, and Services to Energize Your Customers, Colleagues, and Audiences (Maven House) and is currently studying Fashion Design Management in London. Formerly, she was a technical designer for adidas. She has a B.A. in Art History from Drew University and an A.A.S. in Fashion Studies from Parsons School of Design.