Presenting your winning idea
Once you’ve gotten feedback from your allies and key stakeholders, you should have an idea that’s been finely tuned and perfectly to fit everyone’s goals and concerns.
You should also have a good idea of what apprehensions people had most often, so you can address them early and predict what questions or problems will be raised in your presentation.
Now it’s time to put on a show.
The best things you can do when presenting your idea:
– Tell a story. Stories make concepts easy to remember and relate to quickly.
– Stick to 1-2 main points. You know more about this than your audience (since by this point, you’ve most likely been working on it for weeks), and that knowledge can work against you in a presentation. Don’t overwhelm people with information, contingencies, and too many details. Keep it simple to start; get into the details later.
– Tailor it to the audience. If you’re presenting to executives, hit on points that executives care about. If you’re talking to designers, hit on points that designers care about. These are different things, so know your audience.
– Be open to feedback and make it a conversation. Instead of being defensive and trying to answer every single question as it comes up, try to instead facilitate a discussion after your presentation. By making it seem like a conversation, you’ll look like a leader on the same level with the stakeholders in the room. It shows confidence in your idea, and smooths the resistance that can often be the first reaction to a new idea.
– Wrap it up with next steps. Momentum will be the life or death of your idea. You should know exactly what you want each person in the room to do next, and tell them those things in a way that is clear. Follow up with them afterwards, send them a summary of your idea and the action items they need or that you will need to do. Make sure things happen. This is your most important job yet.
A great idea on its own is not worth much. But a great idea, in the hands of someone who can carry it from inception to actual real life, holy-shit-this-is-amazing execution is something truly amazing. And that could be you!