This post was written by Hannah Morris, Facilitator and Coach at The Latimer Group.
In Part 1 of this post, we examined the importance of knowing one’s persuasive point of view to effective communication.
It is our thesis statement. It is what our audience most needs to hear in order to understand our message, care about it, and ultimately act upon it. Within our persuasive point of view our ask of the audience, and its rationale, must be clear.
Again, for any given topic, there are many possible messages, each with their own persuasive point of view. To illustrate this, we decided to choose one specific topic (inefficient report-production process) and address the variety of persuasive points of view that could exist, all following the Problem-Solution storytelling technique, depending on where in the process one is. Each example provided could be developed into a unique message designed for a verbal presentation with supporting slide deck, or adapted to a less formal conversation or even an email.
We chose the production of reports because we work with companies across many industries, but all have some sort of report that gets produced and has the potential to cause inefficiencies and headaches.
Consider the situations and persuasive points of view (PPOV) articulated below. Imagine each as the response to the question, “What’s your presentation about?”
PPOV 1: “We have recently discovered major inefficiencies in our report-production process, a critical function for our team, and are seeking 25 hours of dedicated time from three FTEs (75 hours total) to explore the root cause of the problem and potential corrective actions to pursue.”
Situation 1: In this first scenario, the problem is new; our audience is unaware, so our first step will be convincing them a problem exists and matters. The solution is not yet evident but will not be found without investment of time and resources. This is an initial ask, but there will be more down the line once a solution has been identified.
PPOV 2: “Our report-production process has become inefficient, and is causing increasing waste in both time and money. We have explored three potential solutions and are recommending a partially automated option, which could be fully implemented within six months.”
Situation 2: Here, some are aware of the problem, but all might need convincing of the urgency of solving it. The ask is for a decision between three options, but a recommendation is made based on the speaker/team’s advice and comparative pros/cons.
PPOV 3: “To address our report-production process, which we all know is slow and costly, we are asking for $500k to purchase and implement a report-generation software. This will automate key elements of the process, cut production time by 25% and cost by $120k annually, and enable our team to focus more of our efforts on meeting this year’s goals.”
Situation 3: In this final scenario, the audience is already fully aware of and convinced of the problem and we are proposing a specific solution with a specific required investment and estimated return on investment. The ask is for approval and allocation of resources and the focus is on the implications of the proposed change.
In those three persuasive points of view, we have a clear and concise summary of the entire message. They certainly don’t contain all the essential details to make the case, that’s what the presentation and meeting will be for, but they give a solid foundation from which to build that case.
Next time you are preparing a message for an important conversation, make sure you are able to articulate the persuasive point of view to yourself before you take it to a live audience.
The ability to simplify, summarize, and synthesize information is a game-changing skill in our complex, noisy world where everyone is over-meetinged and inboxed out. Investing the time and energy in practicing this skill will have a substantial, far-reaching return. That’s my persuasive point of view.
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