As Product Managers, one of our roles seems to be to channel a 2 year old and ask “why, why, why”. Once we have gathered information, the team needs to make decisions. Sometimes we, the product managers, need to make recommendations and drive to decisions. How can we do this effectively?
I recently received some excellent training on making presentations, including information about a technique for beginning different types of discussions called framing. With framing, you use a pre-defined order to present information in a consistent and logical manner. Among the frames is a decision making frame, which is designed specifically for beginning a discussion in which you want to come to a decision. Conciseness, focus, and group alignment are a few key benefits of starting a conversation using this frame.
To begin a conversation using the decision making frame, you provide information in the following order:
- State the situation
- Briefly list any complications
- Identify the key item you are trying to address via a question
- State your solution
- Provide three key advantages of your solution
Your goal is to present all of this information in 90 seconds or less. Once you’ve presented the information, you’re ready to receive questions and further explore the solution.
Group alignment is achieved primarily in the first three steps. By stating the situation, listing the complications, and identifying the question you intend to answer, your audience has a clear understanding of the topic at hand. Immediately stating your solution and its key benefits sharpens the focus of the discussion. Having a well-thought out and logical presentation of the information supports conciseness.
I find this technique to be quite comfortable to use. In fact, I used it in the first two paragraphs of this post. Since we are not communicating verbally, I tried to anticipate a few questions about my solution and answer them in more detail in the remaining paragraphs. I hope you give it a try.