Management Excellence Tip to Successful Presentations
Pre-present, pre-present, pre-present
Many otherwise great ideas have been torn to shreds in a group meeting because of the failure to heed this maxim. Never present anything to a group of people that will be a surprise to them. If the information is new, you need to get in front of each person affected beforehand and “pre-present” the ideas and concepts. By doing this you can hear and understand the objections and deal with them on a one-on-one basis.
Almost any new idea, or change of any kind, meets with a certain amount of resistance from people who are affected in some way. If you present new ideas, or changes, to a group of people you will get some resistance. The people affected by the change will have some objections, often in ways that you have not considered yet. It is almost always a mistake to think you can deal with objections collectively in a group setting.
Many people hate surprises, good or bad, because it can represent a loss of control at best, and an embarrassment at worst. If you present to a group and catch one of them off-guard, that person may react negatively because they feel they have been put on the spot. Their negative reaction can quickly derail the entire meeting. It can also start a cascade of doubt and create apprehensions in the other people present in the room.
A pre-present is a prepared presentation given to a select audience in advance of a client meeting. The purpose is to review the content and material to be presented to ensure the message communicated has the intended impact. By pre-presenting, you are involving people before you reach your conclusions. The pre-present provides a chance to review if the agenda, material and delivery are getting the response anticipated.
People fail to pre-present for three basic reasons:
- They don’t know any better.
- They don’t think anyone will object to what they plan to present.
- They don’t think they have the time.
Painful experience usually teaches you to know better. The second and third reasons are common errors people make even when they know better. Recall what we said earlier: never underestimate how much people dislike surprises of any kind, good or bad. Don’t assume they won’t object to your new idea. The third reason is the problem of time. You may find yourself in the position where you don’t have time to get to everyone before the meeting, so you are tempted to hope for the best. Good ideas routinely go down in flames because of this classic error. Make the time. Get prepared earlier or re-schedule the presentation.