How many times have you been told that? How many times have you really known your audience—especially for that first meeting; especially if you are taking over a project mid-term, or worse, a failing project?
The key is to really know what your presentation needs to convey. What you need to share and the information you need to gather, and then being adaptable. You as the project manager must be agile and able to quickly read personalities, watch for hidden agendas, and read between the lines.
You also need to be a good speaker. Nothing turns people’s ears off faster than a string of um’s, you knows, so….and any other number of filler words/sounds. Or someone like that monotone professor, we’ve almost all had one, that can put even the most caffeinated person to sleep no matter the content.
If you have this issue, get thee to Toastmasters post haste—it is the best investment you will ever make.
Communication is key, first impressions count, so do everything you can to make it your best.