How to Use Survey Data to Get What You Want

Let’s just get straight to the point.  Wouldn’t you just love it if you showed up at a meeting, talked for about six minutes and then got everyone to agree with you and do what you wanted them to do?

That would be AWESOME!  And I’ll bet you’re saying “Fat chance! ” or “Good luck with that!” right about now.  But that’s only because you don’t know the magic formula for presenting your data.iStock_000017258309XSmall

The wrong way to get what you want

This is the way about 90% of you do it — and it’s not only boring, it makes meetings drag on forever and worst of all — it doesn’t work!  You create a set of too many PowerPoint slides that drag the audience through every detail of the process and every data point.  You throw charts up there that have vague labels and force the audience to come to their own conclusions.  And finally – you don’t tell them straight up front what decision you want them to make and why.

You know this doesn’t work — and that’s why I’m going to give you a better way to get what you want — AND to use your survey data to do the work for you.

Get what you want with this 5-step outline

I’m going to show you this magical and simple outline that is guaranteed to work — IF and only IF you take the time to think it through.  In fact, this is why I think people don’t use it more often — because it takes some thinking and processing to get it just right.  But when you do — OH BOY is it every powerful.

Step 1: What is the burning issue?  Just get to the point and say it.

This is the first point of the outline — but it’s not always immediately obvious.  So you might actually have to come up with this LAST.  The “burning issue” is the real reason that you are presenting.  It’s the real issue at hand.  Sometimes it’s what people are afraid to say — the elephant in the room.  But that is really what your presentation is about.

The burning issue is a single, powerful thesis statement:

“We’re going to lose $10 million in sales this year!”

“Every 8 minutes a small business dies.”

See — it’s an audacious sentence that gets the audiences attention and makes them say “WHAT!!!” inside their heads.  This burning issue statement is THE most important part of your presentation.

Get this — the burning issue is the reason you ran the survey or it’s the powerful insight you got from the survey.  So right away – you can see how valuable your survey data is and how you present it.

Step 2: How did the burning issue develop — what’s the background?

Now that you have their attention, you are ready to share some data.  This is a delicate part of your presentation and you can’t afford to mess it up.  Remember, you’ve just left them with the “WHAT?!  How can you say that!” phrase in their head.  Now you need to answer that unspoken question.

The way to do this is to select your survey data carefully.  Make sure that your analysis is focused and spot on — and then — select no more than 3 powerful pieces of data to focus on.

For each chart — tell them what the chart is saying.  Of course — the title slide should be the FACT or INSIGHT you want them to be left with:

  • A chart with a downward sloping line with the title of “35% of our customers left for the competition because we don’t sell product online”
  • 68% of our customers like Competitor A’s service better

You get the idea.

The old adage that you can make statistics say whatever you want is TOTALLY at play here.  So make it work to your advantage.  Your audience WANTS you to.

Step 3: Your idea or solution

This is the exciting part!  Right now, you’ve scared your audience to death!  They are freaking out and their inside voice is saying something like “What are we going to do?!”

This is exactly where you want them to be because you are about to swoop in as the hero.

Give them your wonderful idea.  It will look something like this:

  • “That’s why we’ve put together the “My most amazing idea program”.
  • Here’s how it works (make sure your idea addresses all of the issues you talked about a minute ago”

Step 4: Why this is good for you

Now your audience is relieved — you’ve identified a scary problem, proved that it exists and you’ve given them a solution.  WHEW — you totally rock!

But now, their little voice has some questions:

– Will this work?

– How do I know this will work?

– What’s in it for me?

Now you get to lay out all the wonderful benefits that you’ll get from your wonderful idea.

I’d recommend layout out something like 3-5 benefits — no more than 7 and make them count.

Put each benefit as it’s own slide and attach some great pictures to go with it.

Step 5: Close the deal — tell them what you want them to do

By now, they should be chomping at the bit to get going.  After all, when was the last time that a problem was uncovered and solved with an idea in the space of a 10-minute presentation — NEVER.

Tell them what you want to do now.

“To get this process started, all we need is your signature right here…”

That’s all there is to it.  The next time you have a BIG meeting coming up — try this technique and walk away the hero of the day.