I had a fabulous question this week: where do we fit ‘pros' and ‘cons' in our storyline?
That is a ‘ripper' of a question.
My answer is this: lists of pros and cons don't belong in your communication, they help you think through that message.
Let me explain.
If we provide lists of pros and cons for an idea, we are providing information rather than insight. This matters, because in taking this approach we
- Ask our audience to do the thinking work for us
- Risk that they will misinterpret our analysis and draw unhelpful conclusions
- Let ourselves down by not adding as much value as we could
If, instead, we do the thinking for our audience, we will deliver insights that emerge from our own analysis of the pros and cons list.
Although more intellectually challenging, this is better for us and our audience. We know more about the area than they do and we don't miss the opportunity to share our value add.
If your audience is explicitly asking for pros and cons lists, pop them in the appendix. Focus your main communication around your interpretation of that list.
Hopefully next time they won't ask for the list, but rather for your insights.
I hope that helps.
PRESENTED BY DAVINA STANLEY
I love what I do.
I help senior leaders and their teams prepare high-quality papers and presentations in a fraction of the time.
This involves 'nailing' the message that will quickly engage decision makers in the required outcome.
I leverage 25+ years' experience including
- learning structured thinking techniques at McKinsey in Hong Kong in the mid 1990s before coaching and training their teams globally as a freelancer for a further 15 years
- being approved to teach the Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto in 2009
- helping CEOs, C-suite leaders and their reports deeply understand their stakeholder needs and communicate accordingly
- seeing leaders cut the number of times they review major papers by ~30% and teams cut the amount of time they take to prepare major papers by ~20%*
- watching senior meetings focus on substantive discussions and better decisions rather than trying to clarify the issue
My approach helps anyone who needs to engage senior leaders and Boards.
Recent clients include 7Eleven, KPMG, Mercer, Meta, Woolworths.
Learn more at www.clarityfirstprogram.com
(*) Numbers are based on 2023 client benchmarking results.