Situational Context is Relevant

Robert Terson

Nicki and I watch “Shark Tank” on television. She usually sits there quietly, while I often get quite vocal and animated as the deals are hatched, proffering opinions as to what specific deals the entrepreneurs should offer the Sharks, or which of the multiple offers (when there are multiple offers) they should (if at all) accept. Nicki usually tells me to hush or rolls her eyes in exasperation. Hey, it’s reality television, and if I’m going to watch, I’m going to do it enthusiastically, full steam ahead, full participation and all in. 🙂

Recently I told Nicki that I thought I could give a close to perfect presentation to the Sharks. That I would prepare beforehand to the Nth degree—including proper financial evaluation of the company’s worth (something very few of them get right), what percentage of the company I’d be willing to part with to make a deal, a list of all the questions the Sharks would ask, and a list of all the answers to those questions. I also told Nicki that demeanor was important; that I would present coolly and calmly without a lot of hype—I’d let the quality of the product and the numbers sell themselves (the Sharks are bright, savvy businesspeople, they’re not going to buy a pig in the poke; it’s either a good deal or it’s not).

Nicki challenged me. She told me it was easy to lie back in bed and watch the show on television, but that it’d be quite different, far more difficult to act calmly as a participant under the gun. I agreed, but I still believe I could bring it off.

Why do I believe that? I believe it because I proved for over 40 years that great preparation makes for great execution, and when you’re that well prepared and are executing to perfection, the odds are so in your favor that it’s almost laughable. You have everything mentally at your fingertips; there is nothing that escapes you or can possibly surprise you. All the limits, all the parameters have been set, including all the numbers and percentages. You execute a fabulous presentation from the Voice of Authority; you answer every question and every objection with calm skill; no one is going to take advantage of you because your limits have been precisely worked out in advance.

What I was trying to explain to my wife is this: watching television is one thing; giving a great presentation is quite another. All that fun and emotion that I ooze watching the show wouldn’t be there during a presentation to the Sharks. The context of a presentation dictates the emotional context of the presenter. I’m a different Bob watching the show than I would be as a participant, ergo the title of this blog—Situational Context is Relevant.

So, how well prepared are you when you go into a presentation? Is 80% prepared good enough for you? I’ll tell you this: it wouldn’t be for the great ones. The great ones are always fully 100% prepared. Every “i” is dotted; every “t” is crossed; nothing is left loose and hanging.

Remember, great preparation makes for great execution, and great execution leads to success. It’s that simple. If that sounds a bit much for you, too much for you to bother with, What do you think that tells you about yourself?


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