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Learn How to Get People on Board With Your Ideas

Your ability to communicate is the difference maker at a certain point in your career — not your technical skill.

You'll need to present at a big internal stakeholder meeting with differing views, or you'll need to present to the exec team or board to advocate for your team or initiatives.

The vital thing you need to consider when presenting is that it's not about you. It's about your audience and their needs.

If you've ever sat through a presentation where a speaker went on for 20 minutes without a break and didn't ask questions when the audience had arrived at the conclusion, you'll know what I'm talking about.

Spend the time to think about your audience's views, what they currently know, and how you can quickly get to the point and show them why they should listen to you and be engaged.

Practical ways to do this include putting your conclusion or ask at the very beginning of your presentation rather than the end, sharing pre-reading material ahead of time, and pausing often to ask if there are questions or if people need more detail.

This turns your role in meetings more into framing and leading discussion among the group rather than just talking, which is more powerful.

One challenge in this approach is that you must be prepared to handle any questions the group might throw at you even though you may not need the information.

A common mistake I see is that when people spend a lot of time preparing, they feel compelled to "show" the audience how much they know (or how smart they are) even when it's not needed. This leads to mistakes I've explained above.

Instead, channel that preparation into a form of authentic authority where you have that information in your back pocket if you need it but don't feel compelled to use it.

Aim for an environment where there is no ambiguity in what you will be speaking about.

You shouldn't be surprising people, nor should you spend time "building up to the grand finale" when speaking.

Get to the point quickly and provide value to your audience. It's about them, not you.