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While we were presenting our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, the head of the department seemed uninterested in the details of the system.

This resulted in a boring meeting and lead to the rejection of the ERP system. I believe that this is because the system seems boring, even though it was the meeting which was boring and not the system.

How can I make these meetings more interesting and increase the possibility of systems I am advocating be adopted?

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    Hi Cary Bondoc. I've edited your question to better fit our format and hopefully get you better answers and upvotes. Please feel free to edit it if I have messed anything up or to improve it further. I hope to see you around :D – Matt Giltaji Aug 6 '14 at 2:14
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Identify a portion of the meeting for the manager and then make it shorter. Focus on what is important to the manager. Cover broad areas. Don't be technical unless the manager is technical. Avoid the details.

Schedule any other meeting for those who need more details and/or something more technical.

You're trying to sell the manager on this system. Find out why he/she needs it. If the manager wants absolutely nothing to do with any new system, you could be in trouble, but you're better off with shorter and to the point presentations instead of long and boring sessions.

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    I agree. If you are speaking to a manager, especially one that doesn't care all that much, keep your meetings with them less than 15 minutes. Hit the high points, show them charts if applicable, anything to get the info across quickly and effectfly. As @Jeff said, if you need to address technical stuff do it at another time if the manager does not need to be directly involved. – Jen Aug 6 '14 at 14:28
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    Yes, I found out that scheduling another meeting for those who are techies can be very effective. – Cary Bondoc Sep 18 '14 at 8:07
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The key to presenting to management is keeping it short and to the point. The topics you need to cover are cost, benefit, time to implement. Everything else are details that they probably don't really care about. Except the charts. Managers like charts.

We used to take an hour to do demos for our software. Along the way we trimmed out nearly all of the actual technical stuff, leaving just the parts showing how it's going to make their lives easier. Demos now take about 15 minutes and sales are up. Every so often we run into those highly technical people that want the details and we'll gladly dive into them.

Show some nicely formatted reports with pie charts and graphs. Cover the benefit and implementation time frames. Go over how your product pays for itself in X number of months/years/whatever. Keep the presentation down to 30 minutes; 20 is better.

If a manager is disinterested, then that amount of time doesn't feel like a complete waste. If a manager is interested (s)he will likely start asking questions while forgetting about how long you guys are talking. Make sure you give concise answers.

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Find out what is interesting for your manager (and the audience in general). This is most likely different from what is interesting to you. Give them real-life examples of how the system can help them in their work.

In one sentence: Focus on the benefits for them and treat it like a black box unless they ask specific questions.

  • You have a point here buddy, what do you mean by treat it like a black box? – Cary Bondoc Aug 9 '14 at 4:17
  • @CaryBondoc: Do not explain how it works on the inside. Most people do not care and would feel embarrassed in a technical discussion that is over their heads. It is better to wait for your audience to start the technical discussion. – Peter Kämpf Aug 9 '14 at 7:02
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Make the content match the audience need

oh, and ask them what they want to see

For example, when presenting a new system to:

devs - you might go into detail on APIs, Storage, Function calls, etc.

immediate management - how the department can use the new product to do their jobs better

upper management - how the product will save cost, raise revenue, improve customer experience, etc.

One simple tactic that can help (the point about asking them what they want to see) - approach your potential audience first and have a discussion about what they want to get out of the presentation, what they want to know, what aspects to focus on.

This is collaboration instead of one-way information flow. Your management might not be used to it.

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