This is the 3nd in a series on how to get a team to implement your recommendations. Tip #1 was: Hide Your Top 3 Recommendations. And Tip #2 was Say “You”, “They”, “Customers”, “Users”, or “Research”. Don’t say “I”. Now for Tip #3. The context is that you want to see your recommendations implemented. How can you present them to a team so that they will be acted on and not dismissed?
Tip #3: Give Them A Presentation, Don’t Send Them A Report. If you hand someone a printed report with your data and recommendations, or, send them an email with a document attached, it is very likely that your recommendations will not get implemented. A very well written report, being read by someone who wanted to make changes in the first place, MIGHT compel someone to action, but it is highly unlikely. Most of the time you are:
- asking people to change their opinion and beliefs
- asking people to take action
- asking more than one person to change and act
This is a tall order for a word document or powerpoint “report” to accomplish just by sending a document and having people read it. Instead you want to present the recommendations. The most engaging and persuasive way to present your recommendation is in person. If you can’t do it in person then at least be on the phone. The critical elements are:
- The team needs to be able to hear your voice, and preferably see your face. This is best in “real time” (i.e., not a video or audio recording).
- You need to be able to see their reactions including facial expressions and body language so you can “read” the situation and know what to do next.
- If you are in “real time” then you can clear up any misunderstandings. It’s very easy for people to misunderstand a recommendation they are reading in a report.
- If you are in “real time” then you can discuss a particular recommendation, explain, show an example, and even negotiate.
How many times have you received a report, flipped through the first few pages, and then put it aside? If you want to be sure that people are really listening and considering your recommendations you have to present them.
Many of the recommendations you give will also need a report so that the recommendations are documented. But don’t confuse the report with your presentation. They are two different things. Here are some tips about creating a report:
- Don’t give or send the report ahead of time. This will weaken your presentation. You can send it after your presentation as documentation.
- Don’t even hand out the report as you start your presentation. Instead, give your presentation first, and then follow-up later with the written report. Otherwise people aren’t listening to you, they are just looking through the report. If there are things they need to look at while you are talking, examples, etc, then prepare a handout to go with your presentation, but don’t just hand them the report.
- Finalize the report after the presentation, since things may change as you discuss your recommendations during the presentation.
What do you think? Is this the way you’ve been giving your recommendations?