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This is how baseball and business presentations are similar… and three tips to get on base

My family loves baseball. We and our friends have gone to a lot of games this year. Which means we are crazy excited to see our hometown Astros play in the World Series. The Astros have done an amazing job this year. Good pitching, great hitting, great fielding.

While fans love to see their team hit home runs, the Astros have been so successful this year because they get on base more often. More players on base results in more runs scored.

The same is true for presentations.

In business, we present for a reason: we want to win. Win the sale. Win mind share. Win respect. Win commitment. But all too often we present like we are trying to hit a homerun every time we are up to bat… taking a mighty swing by putting too much information into our message in the hope that there is something so sticky that the audience can’t help but accept our idea regardless of who is in the room.

The problem is that in most situations, we are unlikely to close that sale or earn the commitment of our audience at the end of our first (or even second or third) presentation. The hard reality is that early in the sales or decision cycle, the audience generally doesn’t have the ability to make the final decision. Presenting too much information, the wrong information for that audience, or the right information too early results in the equivalent of striking out.

A better strategy is to advance the sale step by step, making incremental gains by using each presentation to achieve progressive goals that lead to the final sale or decision. It’s like getting more runners on base. That requires us to:

  1. Be realistic in the goal for a given presentation – and focus the message on attaining that goal and nothing more

  2. Understand who is in the audience and what they need – and tailor the message for them

  3. Share content in a way that satisfies the learning style of the audience

Of course there are additional ingredients of an effective message… but if you can do these three things you will improve your message and increase the odds you score.


PS - Go ‘Stros!

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