Hair’s on Fire
People have always been overwhelmed, at least since the early 90s. Now they’re even more overwhelmed. They are running around as if their hair is on fire. They are in a reactive mode, dashing from one meeting to another, attending to the latest crisis, putting out fires. What they’re not doing is analyzing, reflecting, or planning.
So when I work with people — individuals or teams — helping them prepare major presentations, I have a two-fold challenge.
First, fewer and fewer of my clients (the people preparing, rehearsing, and giving the presentations) have enough time or focus to do it well.
I recently worked with one team, for example, that set aside five days to work with me on a proposal for a job worth 60 million dollars. They ended up working with me for less than half that time. Two days for a major proposal! They were constantly called out of the room — often by their bosses — to do something that “just can’t wait.”
Second, my clients are presenting to audiences who lack the time and focus to attend to the presentation well.
So you’ve got people whose hair is on fire presenting to people whose hair is on fire.
As a result, presentations have to be simpler, clearer, and briefer than before. The problem is, it takes time, attention, and skill to make presentations — especially about complex issues — simple, clear, and brief.
What have you noticed?
Image courtesy of lovstromp at flikr.