Although technology has opened up new ways of communicating, sometimes a low-tech approach is your best bet. If you show up with a slick slide deck, everything seems finalized. But sketching out ideas while people watch and listen signals that your thinking is in the formative stages, and that the audience can still weigh in.

Maybe you don’t need a presentation and instead should create a carefully mapped-out conversation with a planned whiteboard drawing. When Duarte was buying a new digital storage system, we met with two potential vendors: One brought a deck of slides and didn’t deviate from its spiel. The other firm won our business. They whiteboarded out a custom solution for a storage and network plan. That rep came across as having listened to our needs and understood what we wanted. Her presentation felt collaborative, not canned.

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