Travel Business CPR

Seeing Your Travel Business Through New Eyes (Part 2)

The Presentation/Report:

The presentation of results is the highest risk part of a consulting job. It is often at this stage that both the client and the consultant begin to doubt the value of the work. There are two opposite symptoms: either the client provides reams of written material that he is unable to convert into management action; or, conversely, he is left with excellent, but abstract, ideas that do not fill his need for a tangible product. In either case, everyone loses; therefore it is critical that you understand the root of the potential problem.

Fundamentally, this type of problem is caused by the client's failure to specify clearly whether the presentation/report is simply to convey results; or whether it is to serve additional purposes as well. To avoid this, it is essential to negotiate with the consultant exactly what form the presentation/report will take and why.

My own strong preference would be to avoid jobs in which the form of the presentation or report is as important as the content. Certainly there are situations in which the medium is legitimately as important as the message; however, in most cases I have found that potential clients tend to demand much more of the presentation/report than is good for them.

If I were a consultant I might spend half a day reviewing data you give me and half a day making a cursory examination of your agency and people. I then might spend no more than four hours making a simple, logical outline of what I think and why. To convey my observations to you, I now have two choices:

First, I can spend another half day walking you through the outline and making sure that you understand me, and that I indeed understood the information you gave me. This, in most cases, is all that is required to convey the results to a sophisticated top manager.

Second, and least palatable to me, is the written report. The typical person is uncomfortable with writing, and therefore, is not often very good at it. Good operating consultants' expertise usually lies in their knowledge of what works rather than in their ability to express abstract ideas in writing. In order to express accurately and completely something as complex as the totality of a strategic consulting assignment, the average consultant will suffer through, say, five days of a writing job he probably hates.

If you are the consultant - stay with your strength (which probably isn't writing). If you are the client - get the most from direct conversations with your consultant; seek only a short summary of the consultant's key points.

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Tharwat Abouraya, CTIE
Travel Business CPR - Bring Strategy to Life!