We’ve all done it. Opened the previous deck. Tweaked a few slides. Updated the numbers on the corresponding leave-behind, then scrambled off to the next presentation, meeting or coffee.
Most of the time, it works. The new client or contact gets the bulk of the information you wanted to share, next steps are established, and it all works fine.
Occasionally, though, we lose a major opportunity.
If you haven’t seen it in the headlines lately, that’s exactly how Nike lost its partnership with Steph Curry. They didn’t plan to say sayonara to the future MVP or face of the NBA. At the time, Steph was just another budding young player who was seeking a better deal. And Nike had already locked in its top tier basketball athletes.
The story shares how simple mistakes led to a situation we’d all like to avoid. Yet, it happened. This is not meant to be an Under Armour promotion. In fact, it could have been a Nike promotion. The point here is not to call out the mistakes, but to recognize what we can learn from them. How many little meetings or presentations do we not take seriously enough? How many “could have been” or “what if” opportunities have passed you by? They may not have been $14 billion “mistakes,” but we bet they were important.
Here are three keys to landing the next MVP:
- One size never fits all. Know your listener, know your listener, know your listener. It’s amazing how many things shift when you really know them. What should you discuss? What should you show? Where should you go? Every audience is different. Know their names – even (especially) when they’re hard to pronounce. I used to struggle with names, and one of the best lessons I learned from the pros at Second City is to start with an attitude adjustment. Commit to getting it right, and you will.
- Never treat someone like they’re in Tier 2. Of course we have to prioritize our top producers, clients, contacts. But who appreciates feeling like second best? The communication experience you create depends on the way you make them feel. This comes from showing care, interest and respect through both behavior and content. Channel Bill Clinton who makes those he meets feel like they are the most important people in the room. Curry didn’t need to know that he was in the second tier of Nike athletes. Remember, the audience only gets what you give them – don’t ever let them know that they are in Tier 2.
- Clean your tray table. Every email, attachment and slide in the deck is an extension of you and your brand. One simple slip-up can ruin your chances at creating a deal in the future. At Decker, we say, “the angels are in the details.” Don’t sacrifice that polish.
Take the time to tweak and adjust your presentation every time.
We’re excited for Under Armour. We feel sad for Nike. Bottom line – it didn’t have to end up this way.