Preparing To Present Your Business Case – Part 2 of 3

One of the challenges with getting approval for a business case is presenting it well. Never underestimate the power of a poor presentation. There are several things you should consider when making a presentation:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. Is your audience prepared for your message?
  3. Do you speak the same language?

In my last blog I discussed the importance of understanding your audience and being prepared for the challenges therein. For this blog I would like to focus on point two:  Is your audience prepared for your message?

Many presenters neglect to prepare for this challenge. What you must remember is that by the time you give your presentation, you have had a great deal of time to digest the content that you’re speaking about. In fact you may have been researching and writing about the content for months already. When you present, there is a high probability that your audience is hearing about the content in depth for the first time.

This is a challenge for many reasons. First of all, if your content is covering something new to the audience, they may not be able to relate to it. Just think, if someone asked you to imagine an i-pad before the i-pad was invented, you may not really comprehend. Always ensure that the audience can relate to your subject. If not, you must build a bridge between your content and their understanding. In essence, you need to perform gap analysis of the audience’s conceptual understanding.

Secondly, your audience may need a similar amount of time to digest some of the high level ideas that you’re intending to present. Although this isn’t always possible, you need to consider alternative ways that you can prepare them ahead of time. You can often send the audience pre-reading that’s required for the meeting. You can also prepare a short introductory video using Camtasia software. This enables you to introduce ideas ahead of time, and allows your audience to digest them.

Lastly, if you’re proposing significant change, this will require time for people to adjust emotionally. According to the Kubler-Ross change curve, people must transition through stages as they mentally and emotionally adjust to change. This may require time and some type of facilitated support. To accommodate this, you might want to give people time to adjust before requiring serious decisions. Otherwise, the decision will not be what you hope for.

In my next blog I’ll discuss the challenges of speaking the same language as your audience.

Larry T. Barnard

For more information, visit Learning Tree’s Business Analysis courses.

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