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#486: Make a Good First Impression In What You Say

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, January 24, 2011
Updated: Monday, January 24, 2011
Whenever I am presenting an idea or making a recommendation, I'm often uncertain of how it is going to be received. I'm fairly certain that my recommendations are solid. Do you have any suggestions?

Here's something to keep in mind: when you introduce any idea, recommendation, or proposal - the "opening line" can help set the mood for you audience and thus impact the likelihood of acceptance, rejection, "piggy-backing", or the request for further investigation or testing.

For example, here are a few different examples of strategically-placed opening lines to help illustrate the point:
  • "Here's how we might want to approach this problem."
  • "I would bet my reputation on this approach."
  • "After a careful and thorough analysis of the relevant data, the key to solving this problem lays in the following area:"
  • "I'm not certain there is any one elegant solution to this problem."
  • "Here's what I have seen work very effectively at other organizations."
  • "There are a number of effective ways to address this issue."
How confident do you think you would be in accepting the subsequent solution after hearing each of the above opening lines?

Tip: The next time you are planning to suggest, present or recommend something think carefully about that opening line. Be creative and be certain to have your main objective in mind when choosing it.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  meeting preparation  presentations  recommendations 

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Marvin Bower, the late guru of McKinsey, and who many coniser the father of modern management consulting, recommended agaist being equivocal in communicating recommendations to clients. Marvin felt the engagement would be successful only if the client implemented the consultants's recommendations. He flet the consultnat had to lead the client to implementing the right solution, and that meant not being equivocal, not hedging in the recommendations. It's hard to argue against a man of Mr. Bower's success and stature, but I wonder how often, if at all, he worked wiht organizations like NIH or other research institutions. Neverthless, I agree largely with Marvin's point of view. Some of the above statements could be improved.
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