What is Your Marketing Staff Saying behind Your Back?

BehindBack2

You’ve just managed to land your firm a spot on a proposal team for a great project. The technical proposal manager from Company X tells you to send them some resumes and project descriptions. You rush back to your firm and inform your marketing staff.

Suddenly, your marketing staff is talking behind your back.

That is, if they’re smart. They’re calling the other firm’s marketing staff to ask, “What do you really want?” Because it’s almost never what the project manager from Company X asked you to provide.

The marketing staff members communicate about how many resumes and projects to prepare. They also communicate about other materials, length, formats, and win themes. That way your firm isn’t doing the work twice, and you give Company X materials they can actually use—that will help them win!

Next time, be sure to ask the technical proposal manager for the contact information of the marketing staff member who will be handling the proposal. Let your marketing staff talk behind your back.

Devastating Presentations

Businessman Writing on Whiteboard

In theatrical improvisation training, there is a truly devastating exercise involving audience attention. You stand on the stage. The other improvisation students are standing in front of you. The teacher instructs you to tell a story, and tells the other students to sit down the moment they have lost interest. They must be brutally honest, without sparing your feelings. Once everybody sits, you have to stop telling the story. The goal is to see how long you can keep your audience standing.

Going through this exercise makes you realize what a dull person you can be. You are astonished at how soon people sit down, often within seconds, regardless of how much they like you as a person or admire your skills. Even the most brilliant performers struggle with this exercise. The audience is looking for reasons to not be interested, and they easily find those reasons.

Keeping audience attention can be just as difficult during a business presentation, where time is money, and people want to know how you’re going to solve their problems, or at least entertain them enough to make that rubber chicken luncheon worthwhile. Sure, the audience won’t sit down (they’re already sitting), but the odds are they won’t remember most of what you’ve said.

Applied to a business presentation or interview, the improv exercise would happen something like this:

You say, “Hello, my name is X.” Several people sit.

“I’m going to talk about the X project.” A third of the audience sits.

“This was a really exciting project.” Everybody except one person sits.

“After that, I’m going to discuss the X project.” The last person sits. You’re done. You’ve failed miserably. Your presentation was devastating every imaginable way.

The next time you’re preparing a presentation, keep this exercise in mind. How will you grab attention from the very start of your presentation, so that nobody is tempted to “sit down?”

Check out this post from Fast Company that might be of some help.

Predicting the Future

Emerging Trends

To guide your company’s direction, it’s helpful to gain insight on what those in the development community believe the future holds. You could ask them directly for their thoughts and predictions. Or you could read the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2013. In this report, the ULI has compiled and interpreted the information from 900 personal interviews and surveys with influential real estate leaders, somehow making sense out of a mountain of opinions and educated guesses.

We were particularly interested in how the publication rates future development potential in the Seattle and Portland areas. We learned that Seattle is rated sixth out of fifty-one United State locations in investment, eighth in development, and seventh in homebuilding. It is “one of the best markets for younger adults” due to tech businesses. (The recently completed Colman Tower in downtown Seattle seems to support this point of view, as its residential units are focused on younger adults.) Interest in office and industrial space is also relatively strong. Portland, Oregon is rated seventeen out of fifty-one locations in investment, twenty in development, and twenty-third in homebuilding. Its economy “displays stability but few signs of quick improvement.”

As a firm that also provides services nationwide and around the world, we were also interested in information in other areas. In addition to the United States, the ULI evaluated Canada, Latin America, Brazil, Mexico, and other countries. More Information.