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What You Know
From time to time, editors make presentations to industry groups. I won’t pretend the demands of those talks are anything like the pressures on facility executives making presentation to CFOs. (See cover story.) But when it comes to having an audience that knows more about your topic than you do, I can feel your pain.
If you don’t mind a brief story:
I was asked to speak to the sales force of a manufacturer that had just inked an e-commerce deal with a big customer. My topic: a market update on e-commerce, especially the arrangement the manufacturer had just made with its customer. The first part of the assignment was fine, but I didn’t see what I could tell the audience about the
e-commerce deal those people didn’t already know. My contact at the manufacturer gave me a name at the customer but wasn’t sure how much the customer would say.
I lucked out. The customer was delighted to talk. When it was time to give the speech, there were so many questions about the customer I hardly had time for the market overview that I thought would be the bulk of my presentation.
Did I know more about the e-commerce deal than my audience? No more so than a facility executive understands finance better than the CFO. But with enough homework, the facility executive can know more than the CFO about the particular aspect of finance the CFO happens to be interested in: the bottom-line impact of a given facility decision. That’s more than enough for a lively — though not necessarily easy — conversation.