How product managers can combine influence and storytelling to achieve success.
The author of The Secret Product Manager Handbook, Nils Davis, joins us to discuss his tips for better presentations. He knows a lot about product management and communication, leveraging his experience as a tech writer before becoming a product manager. I expect you’ll enjoy the discussion and find tips you can put into immediate use to better influence through presentations.
Summary of some concepts discussed for product managers:
[12:01] How can product managers communicate more effectively through presentations?
The fundamental thing we do as product managers is influence. You can only get things done if you can influence others, whether it’s pitching an idea to the executives or helping the sales team improve their skills. Stories become engaging to an audience in a situation where facts might not. It’s not about you, it’s about what your users need. I use stories to help open up someone’s brain, humor to keep them engaged, and try to remove things that will cause problems like spelling errors and inconsistent fonts. You also need to remember that people’s brains are slow by nature and pace your presentation accordingly.
[19:20] How can you overcome objections your audience might have?
The type of presentation you give depends on how much time you have to prepare and your skill level when it comes to things like humor. You also need to pre-handle objections to keep the audience on your side. As you practice it a few times, you can start to understand what problems people might have and work those objections into your presentation. You can apply the same thing to writing a functional spec. You want to give people a reason to solve the problem and make them feel like the work they’re doing is important.
[ 24:13] What’s the relationship between product management and sales?
Product management has one of the biggest impacts on salespeople making their quota, but product managers often don’t see it that way. As product managers, we have three big constituencies — our customers, our dev teams, and our go-to-market team. We can create a great product, but it’s not effective if no one knows about it or has a way to buy it.
“When you start looking at a problem and it seems really simple, you don’t really understand the complexity of the problem. Then you get into the problem, and you see that it’s really complicated, and you come up with all these convoluted solutions. That’s sort of the middle, and that’s where most people stop… But the really great person will keep on going and find the key, the underlying principle of the problem – and come up with an elegant, really beautiful solution that works.” -Steve Jobs
Thank you for being an Everyday Innovator and learning with me from the successes and failures of product innovators, managers, and developers. If you enjoyed the discussion, help out a fellow product manager by sharing it using the social media buttons you see below.