Today’s episode features a most popular and entertaining member of the analytics community.
My great friend, Eric Feinberg of ForeSee, is an expert in voice of customer analytics, particularly in the mobile measurement space.
He started out as a web analyst, grew to become a multichannel strategy consultant, usability specialist and focus group moderator.
Since joining ForeSee in 2004, he has contributed to the organization’s amazing growth, providing leadership in particular around its mobile solution.
He happens to be the most energizing presenter I’ve ever met in the industry, always infusing his live presentations and workshops with an energy and passion that his audiences sit up and notice.
And, he’s affectionately known as the Best Hair in the Analytics Industry.
If you struggle with feeling confident in either intimate internal meetings or high-stakes Eric gives you his secret tricks for feeling poised and ready for the spotlight.
In This Episode, You’ll Learn:
- How Eric’s large family and passion for learning helped him become a renowned communicator
- Why there’s nothing natural about being a natural speaker
- Why his favorite presentation tool is analogies, and how to use them effectively
- His unique pre-presentation psych-up routine (and you can’t have it!)
- His biggest pet peeves about how web analytics practitioners present data today
- His favorite sources for presentation stock imagery
People, Resources & Links Mentioned In This Episode:
- Stephanie Palmer’s Book: Good In A Room Book & Website:
- A video tutorial on how to embed video into PowerPoint without crashing your life
- My blog post called 5 Ways to Lose An Audience Fast
- PBM Podcast Episode #005 with Jim Sterne
How to Follow Eric:
Upgrade Tip of the Day:
If you’re looking for presentation stock imagery, ask your creative department! They may have a subscription you can use to purchase quality stock photos for your next big meeting.
Thanks for Listening!
Thanks so much for joining me. Have some feedback you’d like to share, or question for Eric? Leave a note in the comments below, and one of us will get back to you!
If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the left of the post.
If you liked what you heard, I would love if you could leave me a rating or review in iTunes. Ratings & reviews are extremely appreciated and very important in the rankings algorithm. The more ratings, the better chance of fellow practitioners getting to hear this helpful information!
And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates and never miss a show.
Special thanks to Eric for joining me this week. As always, viz responsibly, my friends.
Click here to view the transcript for this episode.
Hey guys! Lea Pica here. Today’s guest is known for championing a well-known voice of customer solution and is the most entertaining presenter I’ve ever met in the digital space. Find out who’s crashing the party in The Present Beyond Measure™ Show, Episode 007!<Announcer> Welcome to The Present Beyond Measure™ Show where you’ll learn the best tips, tools and techniques for creating and delivering data visualizations, and presentations that inspire data driven decisions, change hearts and enlighten minds. If you’re ready to get your insights noticed, remembered and acted upon you’re in the right place. Now your host, Lea Pica!
Hey guys! Welcome to The Present Beyond Measure™ Show, Episode 007. So excited! I’m like three quarters of the way to 10 (episodes) which for me is very exciting and I hope you’ve been enjoying everything so far. You’ve been giving me such great feedback and I can’t wait to keep answering the questions that you have and bringing awesome content to you. I’d like to give a quick shout out to some of the folks that left me a review in iTunes. Very kind of you. And this one is from GrecPod. They say, “Great podcast for analytics professionals. I’m only a few episodes in right now, but I’m enjoying Lea’s podcast on how to present data. As someone who’s learned many of her best lessons the hard way, I appreciate what Lea’s teaching here and think all analytics professionals could use some improvement in this area. Keep up the great work!”
Well, thank you so much for leaving that review and that’s exactly what I plan on doing. So if you have a chance hop on over to iTunes to leave me a rating or review if you like what you’ve heard so far, and I just might be reading yours out for a big shout out here.
So, let’s get to the episode! <Music>
Lea: Hey everyone! You are going to love today’s guest. He started out as a web analyst, a multichannel strategy consultant and usability specialist and focus group moderator but since joining ForeSee in 2004, he’s contributed to the organization’s insane growth providing leadership in particular around it’s mobile solution. And he’s now their VP of marketing. He’s an elected board member of the Digital Analytics Association, also known as the DAA, and an adjunct professor of mobile marketing at the University of California, Irvine Extension and he’s affectionately known as the “Best Hair” in the analytics industry. Please help me welcome my great friend, Eric Feinberg!
Eric: Hello Lea. It is so great to be here. Thank you for having me.
Lea: It is my pleasure. By the way, I think it’s no coincidence that this episode number is “007”. I just realized that.
Eric: That is particularly cool. I think I’ll never forget that and I’m going to advertise that.
Lea: Okay great. Wonderful. So to get started, if you remember we met about seven years ago and I think it was the eMetrics conference, if that’s right.
Eric: Definitely eMetrics. Yeah, that’s when we met for the first time. It was such a great time we were all just kind of getting to know each other and meeting all these different people that we’re all still friends with so many of them. So it’s been a great run since then, but I remember that very well of course.
Lea: It’s like a family. I love it so much and you know I was just getting started in analytics at that time and I was immediately struck how approachable you were and yet it turned out that you were this very prominent member of the analytics community, sitting on the board of the DAA and everything. But I think everyone loves to hear how people got their start, so tell us a little bit about how you fell into the whole analytics thing. What’s your origin story?
Eric: When I first started I was in consulting. I did a lot of user experience consulting which is basically heuristic analyses of websites back then, and best practices, and the gut feel of how things look, and presenting that information out to executives at these fairly large companies who are building these massive sites at the time and this is back in the late ‘90s where web best practices were just coming on the scene. The iPhone won’t be invented for another 5-7 years. It’s just an amazing early stage time to get into an industry and what I recognized very, very clearly is that as I was presenting these insights to these executives over the phone or in person, they were listening really intently but because they didn’t know. And we, as this organization, it was called Vividence and it was a customer experience kind of usability company back in the day, we knew more than they did because we had the consulting chops that have talked with a lot of different folks and I got the bug.
I caught the bug right then. I just knew that we were at the early side of something and it ended up becoming called analytics and web analytics and then digital analytics, but getting involved early was something. It has that snowball effect. You feel like you’re part of something early, but then when ForeSee called and I started working here, I really started to see what I see now which is that analytics is so much about intuition and gut feel and excitement about the industry, but it really has to be rooted in science and you know the deep analysis that comes along with reporting very, very important strategic data for clients and so I haven’t looked back since.
When Jim Sterne started the eMetrics Summit, I was at the second one of those in Santa Barbara. That’s really where the friends and the family part of it came up and I just, I knew I wanted to be a part of it and I’m just forever constantly thankful that I was welcomed in and that I’m a part of the DAA board now. I’m just being able to be a part of the industry as a member, as a participant and now a little bit as a leader… I’m just so thankful. I love our industry and I know that we’ve got so much more yet to go and it’s just a fun ride now that we’re all on together.
Lea: That’s awesome. So what did you find challenging about presenting your insights especially in the beginning?
Eric: Context. People didn’t have the context to understand even what I was talking about when we’re talking about the web analytics data that we’re bringing in, whether it was clickstream analytics, or whether it was a heuristic analysis or a usability best practice thing that I was doing. They needed much more context to understand what they were even seeing before I even started presenting it. So for a long time I erred on the side of being overly over-communicating about what it was that we actually had evaluated. The process that we did to evaluate it and then ultimately got to a point where it got people to say in the room, “Okay, okay. We get it. We understand how that happened,” because I needed that to happen before we can get into any meaningful data.
So that might have changed, probably has changed, over the years as people become more and more familiar with data and analytics but how you arrive at the data, the method by which used to collect and analyze it, is still important and I found that early on giving people an excuse to ask questions about how it was collected or how you decided to come up with this analysis is important. The more senior the executive the less likely they are to ask you a question about how this process was created because they’re not gonna want to look bad in front of their peers. So they just let it go, and that doesn’t do you any good as a presenter, as a communicator, and so the idea is to give them permission by being very, very elementary about it at the beginning. To ask questions about it and make sure that everybody’s on the same page there.
Lea: Do you have any tips for facilitating that dialogue, cluing them in that they’re in a safe place to ask these questions?
Eric: Yeah, I think the easy thing is to have a single slide early on visually representing the process. I’m not talking about a visio systematic diagram of how the data is pulled in and around, but I’m talking about three boxes with arrows pointing between them that says, we got this stuff from the customer, we aggregated here. We applied some sort of scientific rigor to it and you know now we’re going to read out those results with our filter. Your team people you hired to do this’s filter and give them that opportunity to understand it. So that raises your profile – the presenter. But it also gives them this opportunity early on, very early on, to ask about the process.
Lea: OK. Very nice. So did presenting come naturally to you, just the art of it, or was that kind of a slower evolution? Because the first time I saw you present I was really struck by how naturally it came to you where I’ve seen others struggle with that a bit and just how well you interacted with the audience, so can you speak to that?
Eric: Yeah, it is a byproduct of how I grew up. I just am a people person, the youngest of four brothers. I was always in the mix when it came to making things happen, or playing sports, or doing those kinds of things. I think how you grow up dictates a lot of your professional persona. I think you can break out of that if you want to but for me it was a natural thing. I love communicating with people and getting everybody on the same page. I’m a people person and a problem solver and when it comes to these kinds of meetings, it’s as much about communicating what the data says and what your presentation says or the ideas that you want to communicate, but it works for me to think that everybody in the room is just a person. Just somebody who you could very well meet at a cocktail party, or a bar, on a subway, wherever, and striking up a conversation and just finding common ground is easy. Some people talk about the weather, that’s an easy one. Some people talk about their kids. I do that all the time. That’s an easy one that is very genuine and true and pretty universal in certain situations, but even if it’s something that is a personal thing of yours that people can glom onto like I can tell a quick story at the beginning about how this slide reminded me of a time I went to Disneyland or I went to a soccer game and people are like, “Oh yeah. I’ve done something like that before,” and you just open up the communication, make it less binary, less unidirectional from you to them and more bidirectional getting them to start sharing information, not unnecessarily about the data, just kind of a warming up.
There’s actually a great book that my friend Stephanie Palmer wrote called Good in a Room – goodinaroom.com. She wrote this book and what she describes in it is the five facets of a meeting and that the substance of the meeting itself is like the third part of it – third of five. The first two is what she calls “deal breakers” and the second thing is “rapport building.” But deal breakers is when you walk in the room and you like sit at the head of the table and you’re the analyst and you’re trying to come in and present. You just don’t do that kind of stuff. So there’s so many things that just the architecture of a room will dictate, that you sit here, and do that, and welcome everybody, but the second part is rapport building. It’s okay to take time to build some rapport, even if it’s just to learn about who’s in the room with introductions, or tell a little bit about yourself, or why this project was of interest to you before you get into the data, or that this was one of the most awesome things you worked on recently. It’s okay for them to get to know you a little bit cause then they’ll be much more warm and welcoming to asking questions and being receptive to the data.
Lea: Right, you know that’s a really good point. I’ve been asked before, “Does your approach work with very stodgy types of audiences, or very math oriented?” and I say you know, all the principles I use recognize that they have a human brain and they are people and they’re probably going home and watching Breaking Bad or whatever, Game of Thrones, whatever’s out now. They’re probably doing that because they are real people. They do love stories. They love a rapport and I’ve used that to breakthrough with even some of the most stodgiest audiences.
Eric: Absolutely. And you know, I think they are certainly just people but the characteristic that plays best with those kinds of people is great preparation and knowledge. That plays across all audiences, but especially those folks who are a little bit more stodgy and just want to get down to business and that’s fine. You know, if they want to get going and you just want to crank through the data then you just go through it. But great preparation is the ultimate in presentation skills training. It’s hard to teach that, but I find that to be the most important, to know the answers to the three other questions about that particular slide that you chose not to put those data points on because they might come up. You know those answers. I think that being prepared for those stodgier audiences is the only way to do it otherwise they’re going to back you into a corner and they’re going to feel like they won that meeting.
Lea: I couldn’t agree more and that’s one of the first things that Jim Sterne said on episode five and that was that preparation is literally the key to walking in there feeling like you’re not going in front of a firing squad, and I think that’s probably one of the things we don’t make time for the most because we don’t have the tools to learn how to do it effectively and we feel that we’ll just wing it. When we get in there and I don’t know, I’ve just seen that as kind of the beginning of the end.
Eric: I couldn’t agree more. I love it that you enjoyed the first time you saw me present and we’ve presented at the same conferences, you know you after me and me after you, now a number of times since then, so I get that you know we both have our own styles. But what you don’t know about me before I go on is that I’m extremely prepared in a way that most people don’t see but that’s good because I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But when I walk in the room or walk up on stage, all of that preparation you just have to own it, and I’m one of those people who takes their notes and leaves them on the seat or leaves them under the lectern and doesn’t use them because I want it to feel a little bit more natural. So everybody might not do that approach but being able to go into a meeting, it’s okay to have notes. It’s okay to have a script for certain parts. There’s nothing wrong with that if you want to get it right and that’s the way you need to get it right to start with. That’s a-okay. People actually appreciate that kind of stuff. What they don’t appreciate is when you’re not prepared and then it’s just a waste of time and time is valuable. Not just to you, to everybody.
Lea: I totally agree. Sometimes I’ve put my notes in the note section of the PowerPoint and I’ve sometimes had to read from them but in a very natural…I write them as if I’m speaking I don’t write them….
Eric: Oh my God – we do the same thing! I never knew that you did that. That’s so true! When I write my notes it sounds like me. And like when I write emails to people they even say the same thing. They’re like, “You sound like you in your emails,” I’m like, “I wouldn’t want to sound any other way.”
Lea: It’s like an accusation almost!
Eric: Right! But in the PowerPoint notes it’s exactly right and I’ll tell you, like for those of you out there that are listening that do webinars or do phone presentations primarily. Believe you me at the beginning of my career when I was doing these phone meetings, I literally had a printout of what I was going to say on this slide and this slide and this slide and it wasn’t too long or laborious or scientific. It sounded like me, I just knew I wanted to hit this point and this point and this point. So if you do have… sometimes people think it’s a bad thing to be presenting on the phone, “Oh, I want it to be in person.” Use the media that you have to the best of its ability. The fact that people can’t see you, amen to that! Use that. Use scripts. Use somes cues that you can have.
Lea: Yup. Totally. It totally worked for me with the level of preparation I was able to do and people told me after it felt so natural and I knew that that’s what I had to do for me. I don’t do that with every single one. I’m not able to, but I totally agree with you when people say, “Don’t write a script. Just feel natural.” Well, not everyone can do that.
Eric: I couldn’t agree more. I’ve taken presentation skills training a few times and I know that I want to take yours if you offer it..
Lea: <singing> Shameless plug…
Eric: <singing> Please do…but in the presentation skills training they teach you some universal things that are absolutely good to know, but then sometimes it was like, “Yeah! Be yourself!” or something like that like..that’s hard. You can’t just say that and expect it to work for everybody ‘cause it’s not like people don’t want to be themselves, it’s just some people get nervous and so they should teach about these things, ways to get around being nervous. One of them is to provide a script for yourself if you’re on the phone. Another one, which is what I do and I can’t believe I’m telling you this, it’s only because we’re friends that I’m saying this out loud is, before I go up on stage I do 22 pushups.
Lea: <laughing> 22!
Eric: Yeah, in the backstage area and only one person, Greg Kovaleski, our events director person, has ever seen me actually do them. I usually just sneak away, and people are like, “Where’s Eric?” and then I’m back and I’m jumping up-and-down. I’m ready to go. Some people do a song before they go on. Some people listen to their video or watch a video of their kids playing. There’s a lot I’ve seen. A lot of different people do a lot of different things. But if nervousness is part of people’s issues with presenting, there’s ways around that and the best advice I can give uniformly for it is just mess with your you know the process right before you go up on stage so it’s listening to the song right before you walk in the room. Do the push ups right before you go up on stage, cause it’s really the body that’s giving you the nervous feeling and you can mess with it by pushing adrenaline through the system.
Lea: That is just so funny because if I clued you into my pre-presentation psych-up routine…I actually do a half-hour of yoga complete with like handstands and all kinds of inversions to oxygenate my brain as much as possible. There’s total science behind that.
Eric: Loving that. That sounds great. I can’t do that but I’m liking the idea of it.
Lea: Meditating…deep breathing exercises…all kinds of different things.
Eric: It’s amazing though. It’s different for everybody. Something’s going to work for each person and nervousness is not a reason to not want to be in these meetings and be the star and be the communicator. It’s overcomeable.
Lea: Absolutely. Totally. In that vein, for someone that presenting and confidence doesn’t come so naturally for, would you suggest other things you’ve learned in presentation training or what other things could people keep in mind?
Eric: Yeah, so as natural as sometimes people say that you know, how I present is, which is such a great compliment, I am constantly thinking about the things that I’ve learned and that I know about myself and this is true in meetings when you’re sitting down. It’s true when you’re standing up at at a podium or when you’re walking around on a stage. But standing up straight, I can’t believe that like I’m saying this out loud because it’s such a simple thing, but if you watch presenters, they list back and forth like a ship’s mast when they’re speaking, a lot of them. It’s hard to watch and so standing up straight, or sitting up straight in your chair while you’re presenting and not moving and just speaking is the biggest.
And then the other thing that I think about all the time is especially when in a sit down meeting when there’s a lot of interaction and you’re saying things before asking or responded to them, it means a lot to turn your entire body and face the direction of the person that you’re answering their question for. For them it means that you care. That you care enough to turn your entire body, so just craning your neck over if you’re like looking at the PowerPoint screen and everybody’s looking that way, to crane your neck back and say, “Yeah, you know it’s this, this and this or R-squared this…nobody likes that in the room, but especially the person who’s being asked the question. If you move your whole body, re-place where your feet are underneath the table. Nobody’s looking but your feet are facing towards them too and then you give them a direct answer. There’s either a response right there or just great clarity given and they love that. So that’s the second thing.
And then my pet peeve especially with analysts presentations is that they don’t, the analysts that I have worked with, and none of them do it anymore of course, is they don’t introduce themselves. But how could that be?! So analysts sometimes just assume that they’re there to present the results and that is maybe true, but it should by no means be why they’re there. They’re there for personal eminence, to create a better brand for them internally, and to be the go-to expert for whatever it is that they’re presenting in their company or industry. This means simply introduce yourself and make both of your names separate things. For a long time I was saying, <quickly all together> “Hi I’m Ericfeinburg and I’m mmmm….” Now, <slower> “I’m Eric,” and it stops. And “Feinberg.” So from an analyst’s presentation standpoint saying both of your names as two separate things, and really giving it the credence that it deserves because you are you! There’s a reason why you’re in the room. There is reason why you were hired. A reason why you decided to analyze that data set and present it here. “I am Eric Feinberg. I am Vice President of marketing at ForeSee and today we’re here to discuss the results of our summit and how successful our company summit was this year,” and just put it out there with intention that that’s what we’re here for and then you can move on and talk about everything else that you prepared but you can’t forget about yourself. You don’t need a slide for it but you need to make the time for it.
Lea: You are speaking my language right now because you know it’s funny… I attended this women’s leadership training a few years ago and one of the first things they taught us to do was to introduce our personal brand statement first. We had to come up with a personal brand statement, and then say our name because our name had no meaning until we had attached a brand statement to that and I haven’t been able to put that into play. I don’t know, I feel like that might be a little bit awkward. But I like how you’re saying like give some eminence to your name start really strong and I have to say I love that you’re stating the objective of the meeting right after that where I feel so many meetings start with, <mumbling> “Hi everyone so we’re going do this data and then…” It’s really unclear why we’re all there taking our precious time.
Eric: But right, right. We’re vibing here. I’m with you, and stating that “the goal of the meeting is…” and then it is also okay to say, “and we’ve got some really great stuff for you. Let’s get to it,” and now everybody’s kind of leaning forward a little bit. They’re not multitasking, although they will. I guess a quick aside on that – people multitask. They are going to check their phone. They are going to reply to instant messages and emails and what I realized because I used to get annoyed by it, but what I realized is it’s not up to you. You know like they might have an emergency at home. They might have to take care of something. Somebody might have to go home and they have to cover for something. You never know what it is. But the overarching kind of concept that I think about all the time in meetings large and small is that the burden of listening is on the speaker. So it’s up to you as the speaker, the communicator, to make sure that everybody’s engaged. That’s by changing the tonality of your voice. Making it interesting but also making sure that you do 40% less slides and then a couple other basic things to really just keep the interest.
Lea: Totally. I mean some of the stuff that I teach that you saw in the summit presentation I did a few years ago is about tapping into the principles of attention of the human brain and I have definitely noticed ever since I’ve done that I’ve noticed a dramatic decline in the multitasking during meetings. It is really hard. It’s something you have to practice at. You have to learn a lot about cognition and what keeps attention but it really can be done. But you’re right, you also have to just not get too fazed by it. I mean, I’ve seen people actually kinda lash out at the audience for doing things like that and then it’s just not a good situation. But it’s like, okay change tack. Brighten up that voice again. Like you said, <singing> “Change your voice!” Move on to the next topic. Maybe people are kind of over it, so I couldn’t agree more.
Eric: Yeah, and while we’re on the subject, some ways that it’s good to engage with the human beings that are across the table or down the table from you is, I like to use analogies a lot and especially familiar analogies in unfamiliar places. Like it’s not common to talk about nature when you’re talking about analytics or reviewing a data set, but it seems to me to be natural because I use it all the time. Like for instance, customer journeys which is pretty hot at this time. We’re talking about nature there. This idea of customers migrating from a channel to a channel and moving around and making decisions in different ways so why not paint that picture, visually or verbally, and really connect people with that kind of thing? And you know other examples of that are a lot of times there’s sports analogies that are thrown about. I’m not the greatest at those…
Lea: Me neither.
Eric: But instead of like talking about conversion rates, you can just equate that to a batting average, or at-bats, or shots on goal if you’re in the UK… and you know I use art a lot in it, and sometimes bring in the actual paintings in some of the slides like you would do like a Seurat pointillist painting to talk about data accuracy. That this might not be exactly the full crystal picture of what we’re seeing but it’s pointillist to the point where we really are starting to see it but we need additional resources to take that next step and really make it a photograph. And bring the people along with those analogies. It’s hard, but once you kinda get the hang of it, it really does help to brighten up the kind of audio content that people are hearing.
Lea: I definitely hear you. I haven’t done that as well in internal data oriented meetings, but I do have one in my “Get Their Attention” session about why bullet points are killing your presentation and it’s the whole supermarket shopping cart analogy where bullet points kind of shove all your items through checkout at once instead of having them scan things one at a time, and I found that when I related it when I was initially telling people like, “Bullet points are just not good,” they were like, “I don’t really know why. I’m just going to keep doing it,” but that analogy really helped people understand the mechanics of what was happening and I’m definitely going to have to think about how to do that with internal meetings. That’s an amazing tip.
Eric: I like the the supermarket one.
Lea: It’s food related too which is is a win-win for me.
So you know you talked a little bit about things that analysts that you see do wrong. Is there anything else you can point out like pet peeves that you have like “please don’t do that” kinda thing?
Eric: There’s one. It’s probably the biggest one. It’s the biggest tip that I give to anybody who’s presenting in meetings. This is not useful of course, for people who are presenting on stages but when you’re presenting in a meeting which is the lion share of what we’re talking about here, analysts need to give the floor to the highest ranking executive in the room, (I’m not using that other word,) highest ranking executive in the room and give them permission to talk and say things like, “Is this what you expected? I thought this was very interesting to really help our business. What do you think?” and give them again a long runway to an open-ended question, not closed ended, and give them an opportunity to speak.
The earlier in the session the better, because the rapport building will hold you through for a little bit but then you’re going to get into the meat, you’re going to talk about what you’re there to talk about. But waiting till the end, I’m not a fan of that, but giving an executive, and it doesn’t have to be the highest ranking person, it could be somebody, anybody, getting people, at least one person to talk means that everybody can talk after that. Getting one person to talk and giving them the floor is not only something that they want, because people who are in bigger positions at companies are great at talking and they’re often really good at it. I don’t think it’s a bad thing that you know you would give somebody the floor just for the sake of it. You’re giving it so he can get better context to say, “Am I nailing it right now? Or is this something that they’re going to say, “You know what? I did expect that… I did my own back of the napkin analysis on that with an export from Adobe last night and I got the same thing.” Now you know that you’ve got somebody who you can really win with because they’re in it and you can just go deeper into to the analysis but they might’ve said “You know what? I wasn’t expecting that. Why do you think that is?” Of course you’re going to be ready for answers to that. But making the conversation bidirectional sometime during the meeting, but not at the end, is the biggest peeve that I have that I don’t see, but the easiest thing to remedy for folks.
Lea: So it’s so funny. I literally just did that for the first time in a recent presentation that was actually presenting ForeSee data. Oddly enough…
Eric: Nice plug.
Lea: Like that huh? So we had just gotten to a particular point and I was legitimately curious if this was in line with what they had expected because there was this big buildup of finding out the news on that and I was actually pleased to hear a lady like, “Oh yeah. This is definitely in line,” so it felt like they were validating their audience a bit but then later on, similar thing they were very surprised by some of the stuff. But stopping to ask them “how does this line up with your expectations?” was a huge discussion point for us and was like the most productive part of the meeting.
Eric: Yeah, and that’s really the secret, is that as much as you can do the preparation and be great at it, sometimes people categorize the best meeting you’ve ever been in where you got to a slide or two and then just talked about it and really had some meaningful dialogue about your findings. If that’s where you got to in your meeting, and that’s where I think a lot of the analytics professionals can get to. The reason why they’re not getting to it is not because the dialogue isn’t happening, it’s because they don’t even open the door. And in order to walk through that door to great dialogue and more access to the executives and more personal branding and personal eminence building, you gotta open that door. And that’s just by inviting somebody to give you some feedback on it. And it’s okay if they say, “Hey, you know, that’s what I expected exactly.” Next slide! You’re okay with that. It’s okay. Just move on.
Lea: And I think it’s great that if you’re kind of encouraging the highest-ranking person to start that dialogue other people will probably get a little more brave to offer their opinion.
Eric: Definitely. Definitely.
Lea: So that’s actually a good segway into the ForeSee realm. You know I’ve presented with some customer data a lot in my career and it is not easy. It’s complex and I shouldn’t say that it’s not easy like it’s difficult. There’s a strategy to presenting this kind of data because there’s many different facets to it. It can sometimes be tough to explain for someone who is new, so what would you say are tips for helping something that might seem complex? How do you break that down well for a lay audience?
Eric: I think deconstructing complex concepts is probably the hardest thing that analytics professionals do. It’s hard to make things look easy, but our goal is to have it to be easy to understand for these folks. So in the ForeSee world where customer experience analytics and survey results using science and no measurement to be able to get to these these insights is kind of hard for some people to wrap their head around. I always find it useful to do two things. First is to say that, is to bring in a kind of a methodology slide as I talked about before. It’s important to showcase that there are building blocks to customer experiences like look and feel and navigation and satisfaction and likelihood to recommend, and visualizing them in a way that people can understand. “Oh right, right. I’m a person. I use websites. These are facets that can be measured.” In that methodology kind of slide really, really helps and of course ForeSee has a patented model for that.
But the second thing is when delivering the results, bringing in imagery like a persona or something that this finding that we have is evocative of this kind of persona, and you name that persona, and you give them a characteristic like they’re a prospective client ,and they’re almost with us, and there are having difficulty making a decision because this this and this, then having a visual cue there is really important. The science of the data and the quantitative part of it will take you only so far. The benefit of voice of customer kind of data is that you have this verbatim information which is really the treasuriest of treasure troves.
And if you find a really good verbatim, you make it into 150 point font, put giant quotes around it and put it right smack dab center of the slide next to the person’s face and you say that “this is what they say.” And then you have the ah-hah moment. At that moment can choose your own adventure. You can continue on that path and go through to some recommendations that are hopefully very actionable at that point, or you can go back into the science and go back into the quantitative because you’ve just earned the trust – that “Oh, I got it. I am feeling the heartstrings of my customers pain. Argh. What do I do about it?” and then you can go into the remediation steps that you might have.
But I think it’s really important to go quant qual and then you know you’re the best at it, so do a lot of the visual imagery to support that. Because when you’re presenting especially with a customer data pairing the audio and video, what you’re saying, what they’re seeing, is super, super, super, super important. They have to be really, really connected and they have to be added to each other. It’s a one plus one equals three kind of value prop if you do it right.
Lea: Totally. So I definitely have used that giant quote with the photo of a person looking frustrated strategy and that works so well. So I would recommend probably every company investing in just a couple of really nicely taken frustrated photos. Frustrated people photos for use like that that could look like their customer. I would say that’s a good investment. And you mentioned video so I also want to talk about presenting session replay. I’m sure this is a very effective tool during client presentations because they’re actually seeing what people are doing. So can you speak to that a little?
Eric: Certainly. Just like you’re watching a movie and people are eating popcorn and then like something in a horror movie happens and they’re like <gasp> “Huh! I can’t believe that!” You don’t want to have that kind of experience so session replay of course is the technology that allows you to recreate the mouse movements and screenshots from an individual session across web and mobile devices and apps, and the best way to present that in our experience is through highlight reels. Not to take somebody through this very lengthy process which might take it 5-10 minutes of a user experience, but instead to set the stage, and then have a little bit of a ramp to get to it ,and then have the “I can’t believe it’s not butter moment.” – “I can’t believe that just happened. I can’t believe we built our site and it broke like that. That’s crazy.”
There’s so many of those in the session replay data store that it’s relatively straightforward to find them, but you do need some talent internally to do some of the highlight reel stuff. Of course when you’re a client of ForeSee, we can do that for our clients but it’s something that really, really helps and if you see it just one time, that’s typically enough for most people, but if you can get a highlight reel of a few different issues, it really does bring the case for vast improvement in things.
Video to me is just another device. It’s not the main course. It’s just another device in the communication process of a meeting. You don’t lead with it, “we have this great video today.” You might, but you go through the process. You do your intro. You introduce yourself. You have some data. You bring it and then when you know that, and kind of the middle, not the end, but the middle, early middle, then you reveal this. People love looking at moving pictures. We have a whole culture built around it in this country. And so being able to embed that expertly inside of a PowerPoint and not have to pop in and out and do this whole thing and really just have a fully functional smooth video…We’re in 2015 now, Lea, and it’s still surprising to people when things like that go well. It’s true!
Lea: <laughing> I know!
Eric: So I mean I’m talking about as simple as like, insert video. Load. Start automatically. Go full-screen, and like people see that like, “Oh my god! That’s so cool. That’s amazing!” and I’m like, “Yeah, you know that functionality has been in PowerPoint or whatever you use for forever.”
Lea: We put people on the moon – we can do this too.
Eric: Yeah! And so just being smooth about that and being unapologetic about how smooth you are is something that does not go unnoticed.
Lea: So I’m definitely putting it on my list to post a tutorial on how to embed video whether you are doing it from the internet or hosting it on your computer because I definitely see that as the total Murphy’s Law applied in terms of anything happening with that so I’m definitely going to put that on my list. That’s a great tip thank you. Okay! So do you have any presentation tools or stuff used to visualize that you just absolutely can’t live without? Everyone loves the tools.
Eric: You know I’m a huge fan of keeping it simple in the presentations. We got to the point where I work with some great graphic designers in our marketing team at ForeSee. Kristen and Molly, we work together collaboratively on putting the presentations together. I’m a huge fan of big sprawling visuals as the background. A handful of words or sentences or even kinds of graphs in front of that, and really redacting, redacting, editing, editing, editing wherever possible and so for me, I mean, I’m maybe old school in this way, but I’m a PowerPoint guy. I’m great at it. I just think paying for the images makes sense. It does make a difference in the pictures and I’ve got a little bit of a budget for that so, and I would pay for them on my own if I was doing a presentation as an analyst really sprucing up what I was doing to make it look different than others.
The worst thing in the world for me is a white background with a chart on it. It hurts. It hurts just thinking about it. Even just changing the background color from white to like a soft blue or like a sage green or something like that, and having everything on top of that. It makes all the difference, but for me the tools – PowerPoint, big images, and then really, really great preparation.
Lea: Yeah, oh yeah. You can’t buy that. And you know that’s such a really good point about the images. In a previous life, we had a graphic design department who actually had an enterprise account with iStockphoto. We were able to work with them to get what we needed for our internal presentations so we weren’t stealing things off of Google which can be really scary and disturbing. Alright so…
Eric: And watermarked! For those folks who are looking for imagery, if you work at a company that’s of size, even a reasonable size, somebody has an enterprise license for these things. You just have to find them and then ask them for a few images here and there. Buy them coffee. That’s all you need to do.
Lea: Exactly. So actually we’ve gotten to the very last question – so sad – but this is my favorite one so think very hard here. So imagine this scenario. You’re at an interior design expo walking along when suddenly you trip and fall into a rip in time and it transports you back to the precise moment before your past self is about to walk into your first presentation as an analyst. If you could stop yourself, what would you say to you?
Eric: <long pause> Man, that’s an awesome question! I would probably smile really, really big. That’s such a cool thing thing. What I would say to myself would be, I’d kind of put my hand on my own shoulder looking at myself dead in the eye and I would say, “Slowdown. Take a deep breath. Smile. Be thankful. This is going to be a great meeting.” If I can tell then what I know already everything’s gone pretty well since then cause you worked really hard and done your preparation and research, so I would just say, “Enjoy this. You know, smile. Get to know these people. Just enjoy it. Slow down. Deep breath. Smile. Enjoy it.”
Lea: I love it! Thank you for that. So that is all the time we have for today. Eric, thank you so much for being on the show. I cannot believe how much insane value you dropped. Like firehose times ten, and just so great to have someone so well known in the industry talk about your start and everything. So if you want to keep track of Eric, you can find him @EricFeinberg on twitter. Any other places you’d like for people to follow you at?
Eric: Yup. The blog at ForeSee.com. I’ll be posting to there frequently and you can always connect with me on LinkedIn. It’s my favorite place to drop things like when Lea launches this, I’ll post it there.
Lea: Well, thanks for that, and thank you, thank you, thank you so much for coming. I loved it. It was awesome.
Eric: I’m psyched to be on The Present Beyond Measure™ Show. Thank you so much, Lea.
Lea: WOW! I expected that to be fun but I can’t believe how many amazing tips Eric shared with us today and let us in on all of his little insider tricks and everything. If you ever have the chance to make it to the ForeSee annual summit to see him speak, I really can’t recommend it enough. It’s really something.
So thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Present Beyond Measure™ Show. I hope you like what you’ve heard. If you have, please hop on over to iTunes to subscribe and you’ll never miss an episode and please leave a rating or review. Ratings and reviews are so appreciated and they really boost the rankings which is so helpful and I’ll be reading out my favorite ones on future episodes.
To catch all of the resources mentioned in this episode you can visit leapica.com/007. You can review the show notes, download a copy to listen on your computer, view this transcript etc. and I would love if you could leave me a comment or any suggestions because I really want to hear about the challenges you face when you’re presenting your information.
Or you can tweet me a question for the show by including my twitter handle which is @LeaPica and you can include the #PBM as in Present Beyond Measure. AND you can also find me on periscope which is the live streaming app on twitter. I’m going to be starting to hold some personal conversations with you about DataViz, analytics, presenting and so on, so head to your phone’s App Store and download periscope and follow me @LeaPica and that way you can comment on my periscopes and we can have a conversation. I can’t wait to get to know you better.
<music> So today’s presentation inspiration is actually from an unknown source, but I think this quote is very fitting for today’s episode and that is, “Inhale confidence. Exhale doubt.” It’s a good one. Do whatever feels right to you to gain that confidence no matter how wacky it seems and very soon you’ll be walking out of those meetings and conference presentations floating on air. Stay in the spotlight! Namaste–
What are your best confidence-building presentation tips? Any questions for Eric?