Optimum Presentation Slot

I enjoyed an interesting discussion over a sushi lunch about when an upcoming presentation should be appointed. Everyone involved realised that two times to steadfastly avoid were the fabled graveyard shift and early bird slot.

Why is it that any attendee will be at such a low ebb immediately after lunch? I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve seen nod off in the 2-4 twilight zone. Similarly, whilst an early slot may feel like a good idea, how awake and alert and people truly going to be at the crack of dawn? In my experience, an audience needs to get over whatever mails and messages have flown in since last touchdown and given time to action something that’s been bugging them, else you won’t get their undivided attention.

Of course, business doesn’t grind to a siesta style halt in these hours, yet if you’re trying to maximise the punch of your time at the lectern, then having a couple-of-hour session that finishes about half-an-hour before lunch I would say is the optimum. Even with the trend to ‘deskwiching’ for lunch, people still look forward to their break and it also gives you chance to provide for instant (and hopefully positive) discussion before all attendees disappear to four corners ne’er to meet again.

Another interesting debate my chat reminded me of was from my sales-youth. I once was party to deliberations over which slot to arrange a final presentation.

We were one of a trio of prospective vendors on a shortlist and were given a choice of three times. They happened to be for the same start on three successive days.

I remember my first emotion was that we were clearly in the driving seat. Why else would we get first pick? Yet there were members of the team a little perturbed that this meant it was ours to lose! In the end the combined wisdom was that we should go last.

The rationale was that any final decision would be made with the memory of our stint in the spotlight, or at least the easiest to recall by dint of being most recent. As a final safety net, we felt that we’d prefer to have the extra prep time too and were happy to put a touch of added time pressure onto our rivals that needed to complete earlier.

The middle slot was quickly discounted, and the forerunner position, whilst offering a chance to set the bar, was felt to be too far removed from decision day.

That deal came in by the way, and was the largest won that year.

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