When consensus building, last-minute opportunities pop up to talk with specific interest groups and attempt to elicit their support. Often these groups have such specific interests that a standard “stump speech” just doesn’t cut it in terms of content and focus.
The time and effort involved in producing a tailored presentation for these groups can be reduced, however, by thinking about the mental map of those you are trying to reach. That is, what questions will they have in mind as they decide whether to attend your presentation, pay attention and give you a fair hearing?
When faced with this kind of last-minute, one-off presentation situation, I think about how I will answer these questions that I believe most potential audience members have as they decide whether and when to pay attention:
- What’s the problem or opportunity generally speaking?
- Why should I care?
- Who are you that I should pay attention?
- What are the specifics of the issue/opportunity?
- Why is it a problem now?
- How much does it affect me?
- When will it affect me?
- What are the solutions?
- Why won’t the status quo handle the issue?
- What are the “easy” answers and why won’t they work?
- What/who will fix the problem and what are the pros and cons of each solution?
- What do I need to do?
- What are the specific things you want me to do, when and in what sequence?
- What resources are available to help me do this?
- How will I know when I’ve succeeded?
- Again, why do I need to do this as opposed to someone else?
- How will the world be different if I pay attention to you and do what you’ve asked.