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Paul Glen, author of Guide to Working With Non-Geeks, published a column entitled “‘Nothing but the Facts’ Approach just won’t work with business people”. IT and business people think very differently, yes, but they can also work extremely well together. Paul has been observing the interactions of geeks and non geeks for years, gaining insight on how to understand the differences and each other’s motives, during presentations, in the workforce, and in everyday life. 

Paul challenged his IT readers to try an experiment. The next time you give a presentation to business people, do a follow-up a day or two later. You will find that nearly everyone completely missed your point. Paul said, “The reason we [IT] often bomb when it comes to presenting to business people is that we misunderstand how to process information and presentations. We make the mistake of believing they think like we do. They don’t.”

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Business people look for 4 things:

FACTS. Most IT people who give presentations focus on the facts and numbers. Business people want to know the ‘why’. Don’t get too caught up in the cold, hard facts when presenting, make it engaging and appealing specifically to them. 

INSIGHTS. For business people, insights are more influential than facts. Try to guide your business audience to your important insights – make them see what you see.

STORIES. Most insights need a story to illustrate them. As Paul says, “for non geeks, stories are the dominant structure for understanding facts and insights”. Stories are compelling to business people, they may not provide proof, but it will grab their attention and make them see the important points. 

EMOTIONS. Business people want to feel something, connect with someone’s story, and make an emotional impact. Your challenge as an IT speaker is to leave an impact on your audience. 

 

For more articles by Paul Glen, go to: http://core0.staticworld.net/assets/2015/06/16/cw_geeks_insider.pdf 

 

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