How do you prepare a presentation that will win over your audience? The first step is to carefully contemplate the ways in which your audience might resist. I believe that repetition is the mother of learning, so if you anticipate the objections and you inoculate your presentation with the answers to those objections, you’ll have a much more seamless approach to persuading somebody to do what you want them to do. Addressing these objections also shows them that you’ve carefully thought through everything, which will reduce their anxiety.
Ultimately, you need to determine the reward that would most resonate with each specific player in the decision-making process of an efficiency deal. If it’s a sustainability director, it’s likely the pride of removing untold thousands of tons of CO2 emissions from the environment. If it’s the chief financial officer, it might be giving him/her greater certainty about budgeting and insulation against utility price spikes. If it’s the engineering department, it might be finally giving them the reward of a phone that doesn't ring as frequently with hot/cold complaints.
Now at the same time, you might have some purpose-driven CEOs, like the guy who founded Whole Foods, willing to entertain a conversation about how putting refrigerator door seals and LED lights in and doing all sorts of other wonderful things for his supermarkets will have an excellent impact on the environment. Somebody like the guy who runs REI… similar conversation.
Just realize that there are some people who do things just for themselves, some who do things for their organization selflessly, and then others who ultimately do selfless things for mankind. It’s your job to figure out what you’re up against and to prepare a presentation that will address your audience’s objections and cater to their desires.
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