Difficult strategy meetings

A story works great in a TED talk, but a cute personal anecdote might be less effective in a highly charged and political Board room meeting where a strategy decision has to be made. What can you do when you are in the hot seat? Some thoughts.

Cut to the chase. In a typical Board meeting, most attendants are probably familiar with the basics of what is being discussed. Leave out the descriptive intro, send big data fact packs before the meeting as background reading.

Create some sort of pro and con chart that summarises your logic for picking a certain option. Group the no-brainers on both side of the argument to avoid losing a lot of presentation time on issues that everyone agrees on. Single out the more contentious issues that should be debated. Keep coming back to this chart if someone brings up a point that has already been discussed, or that is a no brainer.

Push the rational argument with quantification and analysis all the way to the end. Not just the inputs (market share, customer satisfaction) but take things right down to a metric that matters (profit in scenario A, profit in scenario B).

Think about how to push the emotional side of the argument. Focus group quotes by customers look like just another text slide, adding a picture of the participant makes it a real person, putting a video snippet makes it even more credible.

Good luck!