Know Your Product   

By Susan Ibarra 

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Recently, we addressed the aspects of profiling your audience before you make a written or oral presentation.  We covered how to switch your focus from your concern as the speaker or writer to the concerns of your reader or audience.  This follows up covers the next step:

Know Your Product

This is not to be confused with a tangible item or service you provide.  When you are making a presentation of any kind, you are providing information, which sends the message.  Your product is the message.

Just as you profiled your audience to learn all you could about them, you also need to know your product.  You need to ask yourself – What is my message?  All to often though this question is never answered.  

So what is your message? Your message is your idea that you want to sell.  For example: It’s an idea to increase your investors ROI…Its an opportunity to build wealth…It’s a plan that will increase market share.  It’s also your memo to R & D to lower costs or your resume to convince a potential  employer to interview you.

Your idea is what you want someone to buy.  However, before anyone will buy your idea, you will first have to find the central selling point.

The single most common problem that obstructs successful communications is that we often assume that the job of communicating was accomplished.  Unless you find that central selling point, your message will have holes in it. 

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When that happens, your listeners will project their own assumptions into those holes.  The affect with your listeners is that they will not understand your message, as you want.  And therefore, they will not take the action that you desire.

The strategy for effective communication is to persuade your audience.  Not threaten/bark at them (if they’re subordinates/staff) or make pie in the sky promises (if they’re investors).  Whenever you communicate, you want to sell an offer that cannot be resisted.  But that won’t happen unless you marry what you want with what your listener/audience wants.

Pump Up The Volume

Your audience is not hearing you! That’s  because  they  are  tuned into Wii-FM, more commonly known as, What’s In It For Me?  Your listeners are primarily concerned with themselves, their situation, their problems and their needs.  They are naturally motivated to move in their own best interest.  Whenever you write, talk or present, your listener is thinking, What’s In It For Me?”

When you have something that fits your audience’s need and helps them with their problems, your listeners will pay better attention to you and what you want.

The Central Selling Point

Before anyone will buy your idea you have to demonstrate its value first.  That is the central selling point. You want to link the benefits of what you have to offer to the needs (or problems) of your listeners.  You want to demonstrate with words or visuals how their needs/problems will be solved with your offer.  Showing colorful examples of how their situation is improved is like a free sample.

Echo your listener’s thoughts.  Focus in on their needs.  Then help them to own your idea.    When you show that you understand their problem and that your plan is their solution and has concrete benefits for them, your listeners will begin to accept your idea and respond with action.

Do you have a topic that you’d like to read about or need written?  We’d like to know.

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