We tend to take jobs and salaries for granted when we’re not paying them, and we’re especially bad about this when it’s not our company. But every time we present, we’re asking other people to take time away from their regular routines to hear what we have to say. What is your audience worth?
Let’s start at the top: if we’re not presenting to top executives, chances are the majority of us aspire to do so. That’s where you get the best results, after all. But what is the hourly cost to a company of 5 top executives in a room? Depending on the company size and industry, many of those executives earn $300 an hour or more. Are they getting their money’s worth when you speak? They’re making an investment when they decide to listen to you. Is your preparation and message worth it?
Great leaders are obsessive about value, not cost. The point isn’t to consider whether or not your message just covers the cost of your audience’s time, but whether or not it can produce a multiple of that time in revenue or savings. In our opinion, if done with a certain panache, this can be a very compelling way to begin a presentation. Acknowledge the collective value of the audience’s time, that their willingness to invest that time with you isn’t taken for granted, and then summarize the ways in which you hope to deliver ROI.
This perspective works a different way, too: have you ever repeatedly sought an audience with someone or a group of people, only to feel as though it’s not a priority? Most of us are aware of the obvious initial hurdle of just piquing someone’s interest enough to get the chance to present, but sometimes our mega-claims aren’t enough to do it. Most people are overwhelmed with the big claims. What’s more tangible is a promise to deliver ROI on the amount of time spent. Usually, that’s fairly easy to accomplish simply by offering an educational, data-driven presentation that helps illuminate a business reality that they’d be hard pressed to understand without your expertise.
You have to give to get in this world.
Question: what are you giving your audience in return for their investment of time?