Joachim Blicher

Presenting your work

Building a persuasive strategy in product and marketing requires three steps: planning outcome, preparing evidence, and presenting the argument. Plan by considering the outcome and objections, gather evidence and present the argument in the best method for the audience and goals.

Talk transcript of Joachim Blicher – recorded on 18 Jan 2023 Stakeholder management

Customer success Design thinking Empowerment Interaction design Marketing Product management Sales Soft skills User & customer research Design Empathy Stakeholder management Communication Critique Cross functional teams Product research Psychological safety Remote collaboration Stakeholder management Team collaboration Transparency & vulnerability User & customer research Ways of working

Who is Joachim Blicher?

As a senior digital product designer at LEGO, Joachim shares his experience on presenting ideas effectively. In this article Joachim aims to give his perspective on presenting products and managing stakeholders, which he estimates takes up 50% of a designer’s time and effort.

With over ten years of experience in the private and public sectors, Joachim has seen and experienced different reactions to presentations. He has learned that assumptions, the worst thing to have in a meeting, can lead to arguments, misunderstandings, and missed opportunities.

To overcome this challenge, Joachim shares his “power slides,” practical nuggets of wisdom, for dealing with stakeholder management in presentations. He also employs storytelling to make his ideas more tangible, relatable, and memorable.

The Power of Listening

Joachim recounts a personal experience from his days as a salesperson in an electronic store. Despite his best efforts, Joachim found that making assumptions about his customers and trying to sell them products was not working. Instead, he learned the importance of leaning back and listening to his customers.

By engaging in small talk, Joachim found that he could understand his customers’ needs better, and that his customers appreciated the attention. This insight applies to the UX process and has a connection to the double diamond model, although Joachim does not elaborate on this in his presentation.

In the example, Joachim applied his newfound approach with a customer who had spilled tea on her laptop and was in need of a new one. By asking questions and listening, Joachim was able to understand that the customer was a freelance graphic designer who needed a powerful computer, was not tech-savvy, and was often on the move. With this information, Joachim could better match the customer’s needs with the products on the shelves and offer additional services and accessories that would make her life easier.

Building a Persuasion Strategy

In sales and marketing, a key aspect to success is the ability to influence and persuade others to see things from your point of view. In this section, we will explore a three-step recipe for creating a persuasive strategy, drawing from the techniques used in the legal profession.

Plan, Prepare and Present

The first step in building a persuasive strategy is to plan. Consider the outcome you are aiming for and anticipate the objections that may arise from your audience. This is similar to the closing arguments in a courtroom, where the attorney imagines the arguments the opposition may use and prepares a response in advance.

Next, gather evidence to support your ideas. Evidence can come from a variety of sources, including user research, business data, personal observations, and even small talk. Evidence, especially when it comes from outside sources, trumps assumptions and is a crucial component of building a persuasive argument.

Finally, consider how you will present your argument. There are many ways to present evidence and ideas, and it’s important to find the method that works best for your audience and your goals.

Using Evidence to Persuade

A key factor in building a persuasive argument is using evidence to support your ideas. Evidence can come from many sources, including user research, business data, and personal observations. When presenting evidence, it’s important to remember that assumptions are not evidence, but rather a conclusion based on evidence.

One of the most effective ways to use evidence is to observe and gather information from outside sources. This can be as simple as noting that colleagues in the office don’t take fruit from a fruit basket, for example. Evidence from outside sources is often considered more trustworthy and persuasive than evidence that is self-generated.

Leveraging Small Talk for Success

In sales and marketing, small talk can go a long way in building trust and rapport with potential clients. By engaging in conversation and showing genuine interest in their needs and concerns, you can build a relationship and gain insights into their thoughts and feelings.

In this section, we saw how small talk can be leveraged to gain insights and information that can be used to build a persuasive argument. By gathering evidence from outside sources and using it to support your ideas, you can create a persuasive strategy that will help you achieve your goals and succeed in sales and marketing.

Building a Case for Your Ideas

The essence of any collaborative effort is not to determine which individual has the best ideas, but rather to collectively arrive at the most optimal solutions. To achieve this, it is important to establish a shared understanding of the evidence, research, insights, and conclusions from previous meetings and workshops. Instead of assuming what your audience already knows, it is imperative to start with a summary of the key takeaways from these previous interactions.

It is also crucial to articulate the benefits of your ideas, rather than merely listing their features and advantages. To do this effectively, it is necessary to adopt the EFAP model, which involves explaining the evidence for your idea, the features and advantages it offers, and the ultimate benefits it provides to the intended audience.

A practical example of this approach can be seen in a case from a few years ago, where the objective was to create a better waiting experience for users in a digital queue. Despite the limitations posed by the need to work within existing HTML and CSS constraints, the focus was on understanding the nature of waiting and how people experience it.

The insights gleaned from this investigation showed that unexplained queues feel longer and that progress through the queue can be demotivating. To address this, the design solution aimed to create an understanding of why there is a queue, why it may be longer than expected, and to provide clear indications of progress through the queue. The evidence presented to the client demonstrated how these changes could be implemented.

In conclusion, when presenting your ideas, it is important to establish a shared understanding of the evidence, research, insights, and conclusions from previous interactions. Furthermore, it is crucial to articulate the benefits of your ideas rather than simply listing their features and advantages. Adopting the EFAP model can help to ensure that your ideas are effectively communicated and receive the consideration they deserve.

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