Getting cut short in your prime
You get in front of senior management, having prepared your 30 minute presentation, having practised your body language, eye contact and tricks to engage the audience. You’re ready to go: all psyched up and beating with adrenalin.
OK. That’s what you imagined. One participant on my 2-day Knock Out Presentations course asked:
“What happens once in the Board Room when they’re running late, like they always do. You’re 10 minutes from the end of the meeting and you’re asked to spit out your message there and then”
Here’s what you can do:
- Tell them exactly what you want – but without the rationale you’re more likely to get refused;
- Whizz through your slides, talking twice as fast. You’ll sound like Mickey Mouse on amphetamines and they’ll take in nothing.
- Chuck your handouts across the table – if you’re lucky they’ll go through them before forgetting about the contents. The worst scenario is that the pages will be made into paper planes flying towards the recycling bin.
Walloping the Board when you’ve little time
Instead, try this technique, ‘The Wallop, Down, Up, Please’ approach. Before I explain, I would love to take the credit for this but must, reluctantly, give this to Andy Bounds author of the ‘Snowball Effect, Communication Techniques to Make You Unstoppable’. My pride is dented but I hope to get Karma points for not saying it’s my own original invention…
Here we go:
1. Wallop – Give the impact of the situation, usually negative. This hits the ‘pain’ button, telling the audience the impact of not doing something;
2. Down – Make the situation worse (“And, as a result, this will also happen…”);
3. Up – Give the alternative that improves the situation;
4. Please – Now make your request
And an example:
1. Wallop – We’re spending £230,000 per month on X
2. Down – Even worse, the number will increase over the next couple of months. Projected needless waste will cost £2.8 million this year. This will increase to over £5.6 million in the next couple of years.
3. Up – We can reduce these costs by over 75% – that’s a potential saving of over £4 million – by implementing x (Spend 2-3 minutes explaining your proposal, using ‘What, Where, When, How)
4. Please – Given that successful implementation could deliver £4 million of savings, please can I ask you to Action X?
(Thanks, Andy, for your example. You may nick my model below for your next book).
A similar model is the PROEP, so you’ve got two tools you can use when they say “Sorry, but could you just give us a quick overview. We’ve run out of time.”
You can find the PROEP structure here.
What do you do when you need to get your point across quickly?
Got a request you want to wedge into this structure?
Let me know in the comments!