90% believe that creative problem-solving skills will deliver success

QUESTION – how do I present to win?

THOUGHT – demonstrate you can solve the problem

A recent survey of teachers found that 90% believe that graduates with creative problem-solving skills will achieve greater success than those without those skills. Some 85% of educators noted a demand for creative problem-solving skills.

None of this is surprising if you consider just how important problem solving is. Life is all about problem solving, business is the ongoing process of problem solving, the most successful businesses in the world have solved the big consumer problems, and rather than buying products – consumers work to solve a problem (real or perceived).

When a you are asked to make a presentation or pitch, you are in effect being asked to solve a problem. Further, in order to will the pitch, you need to be able to demonstrate that you know what the problem is, can solve it better than anyone else – or at a more competitive fee than anyone else.

When you are asked to present, verbally or in writing, on any subject, each member of the audience, weather they know it or not has in their mind a problem, that they may or may not be aware of, that they want solved. They are looking to you to understand their problem and provide an affordable solution.

Presenters often focus on identifying opportunities for the audience to pursue, and this can be help, but it will never help as much as solving an existing problem. An existing problem is so much more tangible and so much more immediate. 

A great presentation, written or verbal identifies the problem and provides a superior affordable solution. A great presentation, the one with the greatest likelihood of winning:

  • Accurately identifies the problem
  • Comprehensively addresses the solution
  • Confirms that the solution will work
  • Outlines the implementation process

An optimal pitch will also:

  • Consider the pros and cons of alternative solutions, before identifying the optimal one
  • Provide a clear rationale for the optimal solution
  • Ensure that the optimal solution can be made affordable
  • Identify the best means of measuring success

I see and hear very few presentations or pitches that systematically address these points, not even the first four critical points. Instead they tend to tell a story about the presenter or the organisation they represent, how clever they are and how many happy customers they have – all of which is of passing interest -but far from the main game.

Even an audience that does not fully understand the problem it wants to solve wants to know what it is and how you can address it. Even the audience that does not know it has a problem what you to demonstrate that you know their business and have the solution that can be readily implemented and will fork for them.


When making a presentation or pitch. Make sure that you know the audience well enough to identify their problem, or problems – even the ones they don’t know they have.

Demonstrate your understanding of their problem, and therefore their business, your solution and a cost-effective approach to implementing that solution.


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