Talk to the dog

The other day, I was helping a client with a presentation. He was an engineer for a solar power company, and he was going to introduce his company to some potential investors.

Other engineers would have loved his presentation. They would have picked him up, put him on their shoulders, and carried him down the street while singing at the top of their lungs.

Potential investors, however, would be completely uninterested in what he was saying. He was working so hard on his presentation, but it was going to be a complete failure. It was painful to watch him practice.

So I told him, “Talk to the dog, in the language of the dog, about the things that are important to the dog.”

I didn’t mean people are like dogs. I didn’t mean disrespect people, or look down on them.

I meant, remember that most people are not like you. They don’t see the world the same way. If you want their support, you need to talk to them about things they care about, using language they use.

When you are preparing a presentation, think about your audience. Think about how they see the world. Think about what THEY want. Next, think about what you want them to do, and what will cause them to take that action.

THEN you can go prepare your presentation.