Have you ever had a situation where you need to give a presentation in a short period, even in just 30 seconds? Imagine you want to present a great idea or a big problem to a senior executive. Perhaps you have spent a good amount of time preparing a formal 30-minute presentation complete with PowerPoint slides. What happens if the senior executive says something like, “I’ve got to go to another important meeting. Walk with me to the conference room and tell me the key points of your presentation”?
In this type of situation, which probably happens more often that you would want, your stress level may go to the roof. Your formal, painstaking 30-minute presentation just got reduced to quick 30 seconds. Still, you must get to the point and speak logically while being persuasive. In his book So Smart, But... – How Intelligent People Lose Credibility and How They can Get it Back, Allen Weiner describes a proven method to deliver a presentation successfully in just 30 seconds.
The tool has the following five steps:
- The Problem
- The Cause
- The Consequences
- The Solution
- The Action
Here is an example:
“The overall theme of my presentation is that we’re having a major problem with employee turnover in the help desk team.”
“I’m claiming that it’s mostly due to a lack of proper training, rather than competitive hourly rates, career growth and demanding users.”
“Currently we are spending a lot of money firing and hiring people, and our end-users are very dissatisfied with the service.”
“I strongly suggest we provide effective training to the team. This will include proper technical training and cross-training along with productivity and customer service techniques.”
“And I have few suggestions on how we could do it.”
At this point, the executive will empower you to lead this important project or to set up a follow-up meeting to present your plan of action in more detail.
This approach is also effective for a formal presentation, an informal conversation, an email, or a voice mail. It allows you to grab the attention quickly and persuade the audience on your idea and plan of action.
How likely are you to use this method in your next important communication to a senior executive? What other tips do you have to communicate effectively, gain credibility and be persuasive? Please write your feedback below.
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