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July 2, 2010

Deliver the answer


You might have done the perfect analysis, but you won’t be successful unless you can convince your stakeholders that your recommendations are the right ones. This requires you to assemble a compelling story and deliver the answer.

So let’s talk about communicating more effectively. This is a two-step process: the pre-talk preparation and the actual delivery.

“A key—perhaps the key—to leadership is the effective communication of a story.”

— Howard Gardner

To present effectively, first prepare, then deliver your answer

Prepare your message, then deliver it

In the pre-talk preparation, you must think about the content of your message (which arguments to present, in which order, with which level of detail, etc.) and about the format (presentation vs. written paper vs. conversation vs. other), adapting it to your audience and the specific conditions of the delivery.

For the actual delivery, you must think about your message and, if it is a live presentation, your role in it.

So far logic has been driving our actions. In the delivery of the message, it is still a driver but it isn’t alone. You are now in the business of convincing others, so complement your logic by appealing to emotions and character (the three elements of the Aristotelean persuasion method).