Meeting Time: The Easy Formula for Being Persuasive When You’re Put on the Spot

There’s nothing worse than being in an important meeting, getting put on the spot, and then not being able to verbalize your (great) ideas effectively. We’ve got an easy technique for communicating your thoughts to the bigwigs so you can continue your corporate domination.

By Sharí Alexander, Business Presentation Strategist

For a great article on running a meeting and meeting etiquette check out How to Run a Meeting on Art of Manliness.

During a typical meeting you are called upon to speak about an issue that is on the table. Here’s your moment! Here’s your opportunity to be noticed by your boss. Here’s your chance to say something and be heard….or fall flat on your face and make a fool of yourself.

Obviously, the latter option isn’t appealing or intentioned, and yet it happens. The door to future opportunities is often cracked open in impromptu and unexpected situations. Making a positive, professional impression during business meetings is a common situation for that door to budge open.

How can you be expected to speak eloquently on a subject matter you were not prepared for? How can you present yourself to the best of your abilities under so much pressure with the boss watching your every move? How can so much ride on a few moments in one meeting? The answers: it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter why it is expected you be brilliant. It doesn’t matter if there is pressure on you. It doesn’t matter why you are being judged. All that matters is that’s the reality. Fair or not, it just is.

Don’t worry. There is a technique that can help. When you are asked to express your ideas and opinions on the spot, there is a formula that is easy to use and easy to remember. It is the “Address, Answer, and Advantage Formula.”

Here’s how it works:

Address: When you first start speaking, address the situation. Synthesis the topic at hand. By briefly restating the question up for discussion or the problem being solved, you are clarifying the terms and framing your upcoming response. For example, “When it comes to bringing up our 3rd quarter revenues, I see our weakest area is in marketing and publicity.”

Answer: Next you provide your insights and suggestions that could provide an answer to the situation. What steps should be taken? Who would be responsible for what? Be succinct in your answers. If you babble on too much, you will dilute the powerfulness of your presence and your response. For example, “Perhaps to best address the problem is to create a more structured marketing strategy. Gathering statistics on each campaign would be helpful so that we can track the effectiveness of them and compare the results.”

Advantage: This is the most important element to this formula! You must state the advantages of your answers. How will the people in the meeting benefit from your suggestions? How will the company be better if your ideas are implemented? Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. Don’t expect them to easily infer the advantages by themselves. You must clearly state the advantages, making it apparent why your suggestions are superior. For example, “If we use this structure, it will save our team hours of struggle with trial and error in the future.”

By using this functional technique, you will be able to clearly communicate your ideas even at a moment’s notice. The “Address, Answer, and Advantage Formula,” makes your ideas crisper, well-structured, and very persuasive. When you define the situation, make your suggestions, and state the benefits to everyone involved, your ideas will more likely be implemented. And when they work…your get the credit! Remember to use this powerful and influential technique at your next meeting.

Note: If you found this article helpful, did you notice how it was structured?

Sharí Alexander is a business presentation strategist and professional speaker who helps professionals get what they want when they speak. As the president of Presenting Matters, her many clients have included an Emmy Award® winning executive, an NFL player, and an ESPN announcer. Sharí travels the country providing communication programs in her many keynotes, workshops, seminars, and private coaching. She may be reached at 918.346.8506 or shari@presentingmatters.com.