Whether you are selling to a client, trying to influence an internal decision, creating a business case or convincing a team of stakeholders that your project needs more time or money – the Golden Rule will always be “know your audience”.
One of my ‘people’ shared an article with me today entitled “Making a Business Case for New People, Process or Technology Resources” in which the author referred to this ‘golden rule’ three times as she guided us through her tips and tricks on developing and presenting a business case.
- The Preparation. “The most valuable information you have is what your users and stakeholders are saying about the problem or challenge you are trying to address. Spend time interviewing them to get their input so you understand the problem from their perspective.”
- Writing It Up. “Take notes from Simon Sinek and his well-known TED Talk and book, Start with Why. Your business case should articulate the change you are proposing and why, giving a reason that inspires the decision-makers to care about your proposal: when a why is clear, those who share that belief will be drawn to it and maybe want to take part in bringing it to life”.
- Presenting the Plan “Decision-makers should not be hearing about the proposal or the project for the first time when presenting the business case…”.
In all three phases of the business plan development process, the author highlights the importance of knowing your audience, anticipating the response and appreciating the individual needs and requirements of each segment of the audience.
As a professional speaker, every audience is unique. I need to ask myself what brought them into the seats in front of me and what problems can I solve for them? To the best of my ability, my job is to understand them and deliver something that will directly affect their world.
If you are writing an article, posting a blog, preparing an update report for your project, creating a business plan or doing a sales pitch, prepare well and know your audience.