Stop Wasting My Time: What Executives Really Think about Your Presentation – Guest Tyler Jones of Carmichael Consulting Solutions
by Kelly Vandever
Stop Wasting My Time: What Executives Really Think about Your Presentation
Speaking Practically’s Kelly Vandever interviews executives to find out what they really think about your business presentations. Listen and learn how you can better present to the executives, prospects and customers in your world!
This session’s guest is Tyler Jones, owner of Carmichael Consulting Solutions
Learn more about this guest at www.linkedin.com/in/tylerhjones.
Click here to learn more about Carmichael Consulting Solutions.
Need Help Presenting to Executives?
If you need help presenting internally within your organization or externally to clients and prospects, contact Kelly Vandever directly at 770-597-1108 or email her at Kelly . Vandever @ SpeakingPractically . com.
Transcript from the Interview
…with some of Kelly’s favorite bits bolded!
Kelly: Hi welcome to the PODCAST I’m Kelly Vandever and my special guest today is Tyler Jones. Tyler would you tell folks a little bit about yourself and your background?
Tyler: Sure. My name is Tyler Jones.
I’ve been in IT for about 15 years now here in Atlanta. I have been director of datacenter operations for banking industry related services companies. I’ve managed a national check image archive for a large financial services institution. My last role in corporate America before starting my own company was as vice president of service operations for the third largest payroll provider.
And about three years ago I started my own small business realizing that I frequently wished that I had someone with my skills sets doing the work that I was the executive sponsor for and I thought, “Hey, I can do that.” And so we are a small business focused IT services provider, the company’s Carmichael Consulting Solutions, and honestly that has been met with a great reception, people are actually looking for knowledgeable people who deliver great customer service and we’ve been warmly received by a growing number of customers so that’s been very rewarding.
Kelly: And I understand you’re having great success.
Kelly: I’m so happy for you. You’re very deserving of it.
Tyler: Thank you.
Kelly: All right so tell us a little bit in your roles as an executive, what were some of the types of presentations that you observed, that people were pitching to you or trying to get your input on or your buy-in in.
Tyler: Sure and you’re exactly right we do have a mixture there because you’ve got your staff who’s presenting up to corporate peers and betters. You also have a lot of sales people who are wanting to get in front of you.
And my experience has been that a presentation has three factors. And you got to have at least two of these to be successful in my mind.
A charismatic presenter.
You can have a great product or service or topic to be talking about.
And you can have a subject matter expert who is actually doing the delivery.
And the reason I say that you got to have at least in my experience two of the three is we’ve all seen some charismatic sales person whose very product knowledgeable, but may not have a great product that they’re talking about but they’re successful because they have two of those.
The opposite of that is you’ve got a great product, and you’ve got someone who’d rather be in a back room coding, but somehow they’ve gotten forced in front of a customer, but they’re exceedingly knowledgeable about the product so you’ve got a great product and they’re exceedingly knowledgeable and that’s going to get through some their hesitation about delivery.
So again I think two of those three are what you will need to be successful. If you get all three, why you’ve knocked it out of the park. And the best example of that I’ve ever seen is.
I did a few years of radio here in Atlanta and I was fortunate enough to get to go to Mac World New York back when that was still happening and to be in the same room as Steve Jobs, if you as a presenter ever want to have someone to model after, that is honestly, the ultimate presenter I’ve ever seen. And, honestly, I think he had all three of those things. He was obviously very dynamic, very charismatic presenter, but he also was heavily involved, if you’ve read his autobiography or ever read about the man, very heavily involved in product development. So he knew the product exceptionally well. And it had his mark on it. And he was a totalitarian person it sounds like but he also believed in absolutely making world-class products so those three together are what made him kind of that penultimate presenter.
I think it’s a little unfair to say that that simply is his charisma, the reality distortion field. I think if he were lacking those other components, he wouldn’t have worked. If Steve Jobs has stood in front of the, you know, the 70 whatever Pinto, I don’t think he would have been the Steve Jobs we knew. I do think that all of those things worked together to really make a great presentation and a great presenter.
Kelly: Excellent. Wow. Great, great. Thank you for that perspective on that Tyler.
So what are the biggest mistakes you see presenters make when they’re in front of you and trying to get your buy in on something.
Tyler: Sure I think one of the biggest mistakes that presenters tend to make is to not be deeply knowledgeable about what they’re presenting or about the presentation that they’re delivering.
We’ve all been in situations or seen situations where somebody, you can tell, somebody was just handed that presentation last night and said you’re doing this tomorrow. That’s very clear. And if they’re not passionate about the subject they’re delivering about and they’re not knowledgeable about either the product, service, topic whatever it is, and don’t know the presentation, that to me is when you reach that really awkward point where I’m not getting anything out of this. There is no underlying value that overcomes the awkwardness of the presentation. And I think that’s usually where you have your biggest kind of uncomfortable moments in presentations.
I think, like I said, if you can get over that, if you can be knowledgeable about the presentation, even if you may not know, be involved with or feel particularly strongly about what you’re delivering, then if you at least know the material and you’re a charismatic delivery person, you can still be OK.
Kelly: Gotcha. OK. OK. So what are three things that you wish your employees or your vendors knew when going into present to you. You’ve mentioned the three things that make a good presenter but are there other things? What are some things that you wish they knew going into present to you?
Tyler: Absolutely. The top one there is probably always know your audience. Know who you’re delivering to. Know what they want to hear.
They may be a technical audience – you want to go way down into the weeds. But most of the times, we’re delivering to a business owner or a small business executive. They want know exactly what you’re bringing to the table for them. They don’t care about the bits and the bolts. They care about is their business going to be successful because of the service we’re delivering. So again I think knowing your audience is critically important.
The second is still though knowing your subject matter. Don’t get caught off guard. Don’t have someone in the audience ask a question and you have absolutely no idea.
Now that’s going to happen at some point and it’s always OK to say let me check on that, let me pull my expert up to the stage whatever you need to do but have that happen as rarely as possible.
The third is again really know the service that you are delivering. Not just the topic necessarily but know the business your audience is in.
When you’re delivering, particularly in a sales environment, know that customer’s business. Don’t go in blind. There’s so much information on the internet today there’s no excuse for going completely blind and not understanding anything about your customers industry.
So know the audience, know what industry they’re in, know the material, know the product you’re delivering about, I think those are the key things and we’ve all unfortunately, most of us have at least, been at a point where the sales person just clearly does not know their subject that they’re delivering on. That they clearly can’t come up with the answers to basic product questions or basic business questions around their industry. And they clearly don’t know what you’re doing.
Any time a person opens with, “So tell me about what your business does,” I’m always a little off put. Like I said, there’s no excuse for not know that going in. You ought to be able to at least say I know you’re in this business and in general terms here’s how that industry is doing and here’s generally how those businesses operate, tell me what’s unique about your business. That’s a great place to start.
Kelly: Gotcha. So now that you’re on the other side of things, and you’re probably doing more pitches than you’re receiving, what kind of things, is there anything extra that you would add to the mix there in your experiences presenting to other executives?
Tyler: Well having spent most of my career on the other side of the table, I certainly believe that’s prepared me well to now be the presenter in those situations. And those things that I’ve always historically looked for in a sales presentation are very much what I’m focused about delivering now and again that is what’s the value proposition I’m bringing to that potential customer.
I want them to know not what my business is about. I want them to know that I know what they’re business is about. How we can be supportive of their business.
Honestly in IT one of our big mantra is that if you never have to think about IT, that means we’re actually doing our job really well.
Let’s face it if you are in the industry of manufacturing and all you think about is how IT is working, you’re not thinking about your business. And again we need to be focused on ensuring that IT is almost an invisible thing to you. That you simply consume the services, that they work reliably, and without interruption, and that that’s what you get out of that. That you don’t have to think about IT, that you can focus on your business.
I work with a lot of very intelligent people in legal professions, in medical professions, in lots of other disciplines. And they’ll frequently say, “Gosh I can’t believe I don’t understand IT.” And I’ll always tell them, I could not begin to do your job so let’s both just be experts in our own field and we’ll find a happy place to meet in the median. And they love that. Because let’s face it, I could no sooner set up a mortgage closing or go to court or perform minor surgery than I could flap my arms and fly so we are experts in something, respect that in your customer. And show them where you can be supportive in what they are doing.
Kelly: Excellent. Well Tyler, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate the wisdom that you shared with us and I wish you continued with Carmichael Consulting.
Tyler: Thank you Kelly, entirely my pleasure.
Kelly Vandever is a leadership and communications expert who helps leaders and organizations thrive in today’s attention-deficit, entertain-me-now, wait-while-I-post-that-on-Facebook world. Connect with Kelly and discover how opening up and speaking practically can bring you better business results.
Contact Kelly by phone at 770-597-1108, email her or tweet her @KellyVandever.