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How To Have a Point Of View and Develop a Persuasive Line of Argument


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To be effective in business, you need a clear point of view, and a clear line of argument that ensures that people agree with you. This highly popular training scheme and talk uses material from Kevin's books -The Diagrams Book and The Ideas Book - to explain how.

Published in: Business

How To Have a Point Of View and Develop a Persuasive Line of Argument

  1. 1. FROM POV TO LOA How to develop a Point Of View and create a persuasive Line Of Argument
  2. 2. You did not join the company to do PowerPoint and be an email clearing house so you need a… 1. Point Of View 2. Line Of Argument
  3. 3. HAVING A POV • Your job is to..... • Be relentlessly curious • Assimilate wide-ranging stimuli • Gather the right data and information • Come up with some hypotheses about what to do • Have an opinion on it • Distill it down to something clear • Recommend a direction
  4. 4. YOU CAN’T CREATE AN LOA WITHOUT A POV • Here are some ideas to increase your chances of having a POV...
  5. 5. A decent brief? • To achieve what? • Why? • Who is this aimed at? • Statement: our objective • Question: how do we…?
  6. 6. What if the brief is defective? • Use Three Good Three Bad • Draw out negatives first • 3 worst and 3 best things • Find common ground • Offset bad with good • Time limit & move on
  7. 7. What if our ideas are too random? • Use Think Inside The Box • Map out constraints • Only work within those • Bounded subject area • Reject everything irrelevant • Think Apollo 13
  8. 8. What if our perspective is too narrow? • Use Eyes Of Experts • Choose experts in advance • Or get attendees to do it • View brief through the eyes of different experts • How would they do it? • Consider those unrelated to category
  9. 9. What if everyone in our market does the same thing? • Use Category Stealing • Identify other categories (not your own) • Define characteristics • Name brands • Identify approaches • Apply to your brief
  10. 10. What if we tend to express ideas verbally? • Use Picture Platforms • Break reliance on the same old vocabulary • Find images from a wide range of sources • Choose in advance or allow choice on the spot • 10 = narrow range • 100 = free form
  11. 11. What if we tend to use the same language all the time? • Use Random Word • Take a book • Ask for numbers to find page, sentence, word • Dictionary at random • Or enter relevant words into
  12. 12. What if we have too little to go on? • Use What’s Hot? • Examine current trends • Major events coming up • Look at celebrities & issues • Attach your issue to them • Don’t force fit
  13. 13. What if too often we have a fixed point of view? • Use Different Light • Are you identical to your target audience? • If not, name very diverse people who may have a different perspective • Assume their role and explore the implications
  14. 14. What if we usually end up with a compromise? • Use Exaggeration and Deprivation • Push to irrational extremes • Ludicrously over- exaggerate product benefits • Imagine product doesn’t exist at all • What are the implications? • Use hyperbole as drama
  15. 15. What if we need a new jumping off point? • Use Analogy Springboard • Many great ideas were observed in one place and then applied in another • Pictures? Words? • Stimuli from elsewhere applied to your brief • What if x were used in y…?
  16. 16. What if we want something more whacky? • Use Sticking Plaster Sentence • Invented by surrealists • 2 adjectives, 2 nouns, 1 verb • Think of words secretly, then put in right sequence • Scrutinize in relation to brief • Suspend disbelief!
  17. 17. What if we are stuck in a rut? • Use Conceptual Blending • Start with what you know • Add something from somewhere else • Blend the two • Repeat for interesting combinations
  18. 18. What if we know nothing about it, or too much? • Use Strange Or Familiar? • Unfamiliarity = fear • Overfamiliarity = conformity • 1. = Learn more + develop • 2. = Revisit assumptions • Reappraise in new light
  19. 19. What if the brief is always the same? • Use Four Corner Walkabout • 4 flip chart pages • 1 in each corner • 1 strategic word on each • Walk round and add ideas • Review when pages full
  20. 20. What if we usually ignore any anomalies? • Use Outliers • Context is crucial • Head to Extremistan • Ignore consensus view • Head to the edges • What’s the oddest thing? • Examine the anomalies • Is there an interesting lateral link to the brief?
  21. 21. ONCE YOU HAVE YOUR POV... • Don’t stampede to PowerPoint • Get a pen and paper and sketch out your LOA • Just because you have a POV, they still might not get it • If you have no LOA, they definitely won’t get it
  22. 22. THINK BEFORE YOU START WRITING • What is this supposed to achieve? • To whom is it directed? • What approach is likely to yield the best result?
  23. 23. AUDIENCE ORIENTATIONS Results Don’t bore with details. Snappy points. Talk results. Emotions Show genuine interest in feelings. Give help & support. Abracadabra Give it some magic. Make it interesting and sparky. Data Make research, facts, and figures perfectly precise.
  24. 24. What if we want to say it all in one chart? • Use The Market Map • Win the business with one diagram • Plot any market • Encapsulate strategy visually • Try multiple variables • Imply direction of travel and success
  25. 25. What if we don’t know how brave to be? • Use The Bravery Scale • How adventurous is the individual? • How adventurous is the company culture? • How brave should targets be? • What standards are expected? • Remind when you present/they reject
  26. 26. What if we don’t want to look indecisive? • Use The Whittling Wedge • Tell an engaging strategic story • Start broad, then reduce • Consider, then reject • Exclude competitor proposals • Recommend with authority
  27. 27. What if we need to cover a lot of detail? • Use The Bow Tie • Perfect story telling • Reduce, big reveal, expand • Cadence and pace of a presentation • “And now for the detail...”
  28. 28. What if we need to distinguish between strategy and tactics? • Use The Strategic v. Tactics Year View • It’s not what changes that matters – it’s what stays the same • Strategy = fixed • Tactics = flexible • You must always be able to link the two
  29. 29. What if we need to organise our creative thoughts? • Use The Central Idea Satellite System • How to explain ideas clearly • Sub-sets and interrelationships • Proper anchored strategy • Multiple themes and fertility of ideas
  30. 30. What if there are too many projects or tasks? • Use The Three Buckets • BB = excellence as standard • CD = significantly better than normal • CTG = truly extraordinary • Put all projects in a bucket & review
  31. 31. What if we think they won’t buy it? • Use The Barriers To Purchase Axis • What are the barriers? • How many? • How do we knock them down? • All at once? • Or in what sequence?
  32. 32. What if we haven’t got much time? • Use The Personal Deadline • Human nature to delay, but don’t • Convene decision makers in the first 24 hours • Set direction, brief experts, course correct if necessary
  34. 34. 1. KILLER TITLE GOES HERE •Make the title truly reflect the main point you are trying to get across •It must be accurate and engaging •Do not write “presentation by Agency X” - let the logo do the work
  35. 35. 2. START WITH A BANG • Do not repeat the brief or cut and paste “the task” • Use a grabber, such as... • A controversial statement • A quotation that sums up the dilemma • Stating the opposite view
  36. 36. 3. MAKE ASSERTIONS AND BACK THEM UP • Re-express their issues cleverly • Don’t hide negatives and overclaim in a list of things to do - be honest about the job • Challenge their assumptions and be brave • Follow with solutions as unique to your agency as possible • Show data that support your argument(s) • Deliberately introduce similar issues from other markets they aren’t familiar with • Cross fertilise knowledge from different disciplines
  37. 37. 4. TELL THE STORY OF YOUR STRATEGIC JOURNEY • Such as: in this market there are only really four strategies - eg. price, reliability, innovation and speed • Isn’t it interesting that your company has tried three of these in the last four years? • We wanted to know why your most admired competitor has cleverly migrated their position from x to y • So we researched it and this is what we found…
  38. 38. 5. ARRIVE AT A STRATEGIC POSITIONING • So we think you should be occupying territory x • (At this stage we have not mentioned any particular medium at all) • The positioning statement needs either to be a distinctive diagram or a crystal clear sentence which your mum could understand • The positioning statement must not include any flabby adjectives such as “innovative” or “trustworthy”
  39. 39. 6. TELL THEM THE CENTRAL IDEA • We propose basing the campaign on x • Our creative expression of x is ….. • This is such a fertile idea that it works effectively for a range of audiences, vertical markets, countries, channels, ++ • We have cherry picked 6-10 ideas from the implementation programme to demonstrate the point, and they are… • Here are some examples that bring it to life - video, personalities, graphics etc
  40. 40. 7. IN THE CONTEXT OF THE OVERALL (COMMUNICATIONS) STRATEGY • Don’t dive straight in to the details of your favourite medium - that’s what they would expect from a media agency • Instead review their whole marketing strategy and communications plan • Look at all the communication options and show how the plan fits in with the total picture • You may end up concluding for example that your agency cannot do everything - recommend other experts if needed
  41. 41. 8. TONE OF VOICE • Don’t confuse what you wish to say with how you wish to say it • Select no more than three adjectives that reflect the right tone of voice • If they could be applied to a competitor they are not distinctive enough • Try to choose words that you have not seen in marketing documents before • Not allowed: innovative, visionary, responsible, mould-breaking • Try: eccentric, cheeky, loud, invasive, etc.
  42. 42. 9. MECHANICS, MEDIA, CHANNELS, ROUTES • You are now clear to outline the specific strategy or plan that you are recommending • Be concise and avoid cliché - if the words are similar to those used in other presentations, it’s probably not going to be memorable enough • Show the relative merit of your agency’s recommendation alongside others
  43. 43. 10. ADD PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES • Now is the time to introduce your bespoke products as clever solutions to their tricky problems - but only if they are relevant • Putting “Brand Process X” on a chart out of the blue doesn’t work • Try to demonstrate their efficacy by reference to irrefutable success on other impressive clients - “we introduced “Brand Process X” to Client Y 2 years ago and now they can’t operate without it…”
  44. 44. 11. THE PROGRAMME • If at all possible, put this in the appendix and don’t present it on the day • If the client is process driven, then do it, but do it fast and distinctively - reading bullet points off 15-20 charts will bore them rigid • Summarise the hygiene factors such as costs and housekeeping as succinctly as possible
  45. 45. 12. APPENDIX • Put all back up material in the appendix • Don’t protest too much in the main LOA with too much evidence • Relegate to the appendix anything that interrupts the LOA • Don’t stray into this material if the job is done • If they agree with your recommendation, don’t use it at all
  46. 46. JUST A FEW THINGS LEFT... • Edit several times • Remove all cliche and bullshit • Add a bit of colour • Test drive with a colleague • Write the executive summary
  47. 47. A CLASSIC LOA 1. There are various views on X, which span broadly from A to B to C. Let’s take a new look at this. 2. The facts are D, E, and F. 3. Interestingly, new evidence sheds a different light on how this is usually viewed. 4. Analysing this leads us to main areas 1, 2, 3. 5. Looking specifically, we get closer to a solution like 4. 6. Objections to this idea might include X, Y and Z, but they can be countered with A, B and C. 7. So we recommend X. 8. X is a very fertile idea, and can be developed by XYZ. 9. If enacted, the principle benefit of this will be X. 10. In our line of argument, the chain of logic is A + B + C = D.
  48. 48. STRUCTURAL CHECKLIST • What are we trying to achieve? • Who is the audience of this LOA? • Research subject • Be accurate and engaging • Decent structure • Colour and pace • Remove cliché and bullshit • Edit several times • Writer’s block & colleague check
  49. 49. Brevity equals intelligence
  50. 50. You need a Point Of View and a Line Of Argument @kevinduncan
  51. 51. 3. LIVING WITH IDEAS
  52. 52. What if nothing happens at first? • Recognise The Unconcealing • Things don’t always happen immediately • During the stumped phase, your depth mind is still working • Focus on not being focused • Brief yourself, then do something else
  53. 53. How can we ‘make ideas happen’? • Try to Train Your Depth Mind • Be constantly curious • Be a ‘junk collector’ • Be a Mental Magpie • Widen your span of relevance • Attach stimuli to issues • Practice serendipity • Chance favours the prepared mind
  54. 54. What if we invent something original, and then always dilute it? • Don’t allow ideas to be Pecked To Death By Ducks • Do you like it? • If so, don’t fiddle with it • What would you sacrifice to make it happen? • How can we devote every possible resource to it?
  55. 55. What if we have too many ideas? • Use Post-It Voting • Cull regularly • In session, or on project list • Put on the wall • Take a pause • Limited number of votes? • Rank order? • Consensus = commitment and better use of energy
  56. 56. What if the idea is okay, but not that great? • Use Kill It • Don’t flog dead horses • Issue limited number of Kill It cards • Play if feel strongly • Yes = develop • No = stop wasting time • If in doubt, kill it and think of something better
  57. 57. You need a Point Of View and a Line Of Argument @kevinduncan