Submitted by Don Doman
In the feature film RV, Robin Williams plays an advertising executive. His boss orders him around and it looks like Robin will be put out to pasture. Showing no respect to Robin, the boss orders him onto an assignment. To make a presentation in Colorado, Robin must cancel his family’s vacation plans. Hawaii is out. An RV trip to the mountains is in. He is ashamed to admit to his wife and kids that the trip is anything but an attempt to reestablish some quality time in a family that has become fragmented.
Robin stays up at night writing the presentation and fires it off from a mountain peak when he is able to find a signal strong enough for the upload. He abandons his family to make the presentation and only then finds out that his boss has brought along a replacement for Robin. Robin is only a backup. The first-string guy fumbles and Robin must step in.
After meeting the clients and noticing their reactions to the first-string guy’s emphasis on profits and money, Robin takes a different tact and talks about nostalgia, love and the environment. He saves the day, and the account.
Whenever I have to make a presentation, I always leave myself some wiggle room. I’ll switch horses in mid-stream if I have to . . . and sometimes I even plan it that way.
A few years ago, I was to review a fund-raising video with a senior living facility client. We had videotaped a number of testimonials. I had selected short clips and laid out a story line. I played the rough draft version of the video they had approved. It had nice transitions and built emotionally to a conclusion nicely. They were happy. They loved it. I could have walked away and finished the production, but instead I said, “It is a good video, but that’s not the video I recommend for your fundraising event.” They slowly turned and looked at me. In editing, I had fallen in love with a single interview. I was unable to use any “soundbites” from that interview for the approved video because these comments were much longer, but with a few simple edits, I was able to use that one interview itself as a heartfelt fundraising presentation. You fell in love with the lady. You cared about her and you cared about her story. You laughed with her and you cried with her. There was not a dry eye in the conference room after I played the video.
I was confident with both videos, but if the client had hated the first video, I would have redeemed myself with the second. The client loved them both. The interview video was played at the big fundraising event and they were both distributed on DVD and placed on the web. My budget was increased slightly and the client was extremely pleased with two fundraising videos for slightly more than the original estimate.
When making presentations, you must know your clients, you must listen to your clients and by all means you must watch your clients during the presentation. If you need to make adjustments, don’t make them lightly. But if you sense that something else is needed to make the client happy, stay loose and try a little adjustment.