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Structure your content for a win/win

Create a positive dynamic

Your approach to this project should reflect an abundant mindset to create a sense of optimism. Steven Covey first coined the term abundance mentality in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (1989) and it has been widely adopted in business and wellness advice.

The abundance mentality states there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making.”

He argues that most people are trapped in a scarcity mentality:

“When you have a scarcity mindset, it makes it difficult to share happiness, power, or recognition, with others. You feel that when they gain something, it is your loss and you worry that there isn’t enough to go around.”

A comparison of the two mindsets:

Tips for displaying an abundant mindset in your presentation:

  • Create a vision of the outcome and show that you embrace change, even if there are challenges
  • Frame the project as a win/win/ win, which means that the benefits for the community, the company and for your team are articulated – focus on the outcomes that are mutually beneficial
  • Look for ways to build on or link with other initiatives in the company, and focus on collaboration rather than competition
  • Project optimism and take pleasure in the success of others

Hook your audience

The audience will likely be busy and easily distracted, so start by giving an overview of the project in a way that captures their attention. Refer to the strategic plan or issues that are paramount to the audience. Be clear about what you want from the presentation. The pitch overview should be punchy and short. If you have been given 30 minutes, imagine it’s been cut back to 5 minutes. Use this Quick Pitch Template to help structure the overview.

Once you have got their attention and they know why they are there, you can provide more detail.

Define the problem

You might say:

“Let me show you why this is a problem we need to address with urgency.”

This is the time to demonstrate the problem through data, a story or a photograph that illustrates why it matters to you and to them. Don’t tell, show information so that the audience feels the need for urgency. Refer to what matters to them, for example, elements in the strategic plan, company goals, reputation and so on.

Make the solution inspiring

Inspire the audience with how the solution will solve problems and benefit the company. You might use financial projections or data to show potential improvements. You could create a story of how it will benefit customers, employees or the company’s reputation.

Select the future vision that will inspire them according to your understanding of their interests and concerns. You might also highlight the consequences of not acting.

Be clear about the “ask”

  • Show that you have thought through the project management process, the time required and the resources needed.
  • Build confidence in your ability to see the project through, minimise risk and have a successful outcome.
  • Be specific about what you need regarding funding and resources, showing a breakdown of costs and time.
  • If you are looking for support, suggest how they can show support and endorse the project.

Use the Structure Your Pitch template to help you structure your presentation.