POWER PLAY #3: See the World Through Their Eyes

Let’s say you’re on a car lot looking to buy. A salesperson saunters up for a meet and greet, gauges your interest, and determines you’re serious. It’s actually going pretty well—no pressure yet, and he seems nice enough. When he asks what you have in mind, you say you’re interested in a compact hybrid, because you’re looking for the fuel economy of a smaller car.

But then he gets all animated: “Look at this baby! The color is fabulous. And check out these rims and premium wheels! The body of this car is verrrry sexy.”

If you’re the type of person who buys cars for their styling, great. But didn’t you just say that your primary need is fuel economy? Wasn’t he listening?

Classic misstep on his part. You told him what was important to you and then he talked about what he thought might impress you or what interested him. Don’t do this to your audience! Instead, try to see the world through their eyes.


When you’re preparing your presentation, remember to focus on what’s important to your audience, what interests them, what inspires them. Figure out what anecdotes, examples, stories, and experiences will resonate most with them. And when you share your solution, don’t do it in a cookie-cutter way, as if you’re delivering sales patter. Every audience is unique. The key is customization. What works for one audience may not work for another. When I’m speaking to a technology company, for instance, I use different examples than when I’m talking to a financial company, even when I’m talking about the exact same topic. It takes a bit more work on your part, but your audience will love it.