It hurts…

The greatest challenge being an entrepreneur is failure. It hurts to fail it hurts publicly and privately, lowering self-esteem and taking the wind out of a good team, in fact it can be thoroughly demoralizing. Charles Darwin acknowledge that the ability to change leads to survival. It recognizes that you can fail, you can change and have the ability to stand up and do it again.

Failure can be a source of inspiration it depends on your attitude – most people react badly to failure and yet it holds so much truth about what has gone on. And if you want to stand up and win take some time to ask yourself these questions. Only if you want to be honest and grow and win – powerful truths can change what you do.

If I am honest I will ask myself these three questions:

  1. What worked?
  2. What did not work?
  3. What can I do differently?

Most people are honest, but not honest enough to face the facts, rather they rely on excuses. After all excuses are easy to manage, that allow us to feel good and to avoid honesty, self-honesty must be blunt and dishonest to others however they often not dishonest themselves. Not being willing to tell oneself the truth rather than rely on excuses causes more businesses to fail.

As a Presentation Consultant I have heard whole range of excuses of why the company did not win the presentation, they range from “it was a political decision”, “it was an inside job”, “they already had chosen the winner”, “they just didn’t like me”, yes the list can go on and on and the most disappointing thing is often none of them are whole the truth. Occasionally we’ll lose a presentation while maybe more than occasionally for some people, because they don’t get down to the real truth of the matter.

I like radical honesty!

I like the term TMR, tangible, measurable results, if you are not measuring the results you have no idea of what is working on what is not working you are in fact in a fog.

What worked?

The truth of the matter can be found by asking questions of oneself and team, the one I found most often neglected is the question “what worked” for until you ask this question consistently you will not understand how and what kind of impact you are having during your presentation. No presentation is complete loss, there is always value there. Once you identified the characteristics of a winning presentation you are able to repeat it. If you don’t identify what has happened you cannot measure it or understand the impact that you are having or repeat it.

What did not work?

The second question I like to ask is “what did not work” often a good client or a potential client will take the time to tell you what did not work – again don’t rely on excuses listen carefully and make note, just because it’s your favourite saying or your favourite way of doing things doesn’t mean it works – especially if the client says to you hey this doesn’t work! Too often companies and individuals use exactly the same presentation time and time again, no doubt in the beginning it was successful and that’s why they copied it but time has overtaken that presentation and sometimes people would use it for a different project and some of the people in the room have already seen this presentation!

What can I do differently?

The third question I’d like to ask is “what can I do differently” the power in this question is the observation that there might be another strategy there might be another way of presenting your information. And yet this is the most challenging of all of the questions because most people are entrenched in what they think works, the don’t apply measurement they only apply opinion.

Tangible Measurable Results

One company I was working with had one several winning presentations in a row under my guidance and coaching. Then they failed in two presentations and the only common factor in the failure of these presentations was the co-partner in the presentation. I thought about this and didn’t like it – so I applied TMR – tangible measurable results and I wrote a report back to my client saying “don’t do the presentation with that particular partner they do not win”, it was my opinion they so focused on being right and promoting their own company that the client doesn’t feel as if they are focused on them. That’s why I like tangible measurable results, when you list them out the results just jump off the page!

If you are not tracking your results, if you don’t know your win rate, if you are not paying attention to why you win and how you win then you’re not really in business or won’t in business for very long!