coworkers in a conference room having a meeting

Who are you talking to?

Who are you talking to? Sounds tense. In the world of the Five Slide Rule™ discipline, another deeply powerful practice is understanding the human (book slide), but even more fundamental is where is the human(s) in the audience.

I don’t mean where they are sitting. In style, understand their agenda, needs set, mindset, and relationship to any message you have. How do you prep or over-prep? Mind you, over-prepping has been extremely useful to me.

Knowing who you are talking to is extremely important in prepping
Knowing who you are talking to is extremely important in prepping

What is the context of the audience (s)? Why are you in that Zoom room on that team’s call? Pitch, readout, update, brainstorm, pre or post-action meeting. Are you asking for something, telling them something, building on something, milestoning the work and so on. I am amazed at how little time is spent profiling the mindset math and persona rehearsals. Why-should-they-care calisthenics? In your preps, you ask, ‘Why would they care about that?’ And wait with intentional silence. Look for context.

I have been in rooms and zooms where all the personas on this slide were present. Some on my own team. Sweaty is the presenter who lacks message discipline for the persona. In another post, I will cover the techniques to handle each of these personas and mindsets that can support efficient curveball fielding and the strategic benign neglect necessary to steer the audience in these situations.

Frame and Reframe (a lot)
The more time you can take in preps to frame and reframe messaging and topic coverage, the more likely you are to effectively manage to stay on message and successfully address and redress the audience’s needs.

Murder Boarding
This is not a new thing, and I did not invent it, but in the world of over-prepping that I live in. This is a game-changer. My teammates know the devil’s advocate math that this enables. Be the audience member, throw the curve ball question, the gotcha, the misdirect, redirect, the agenda chaser, the non-combatant, or the ‘why am I here’ persona. As a team, you prepare for the worst; salespeople are excellent foils for this kind of work; they anticipate resistance and negative scanning. A solid murder board can save all the team’s hard work and load your storytelling for bear.
May it never be needed, though.

Hey, like I say, I. Don’t. Know. Anything. But I’m learning.
I would be grateful if you could make use of this.
Thanks for reading. #keepmoving #keepmurderboarding