Part of being a product manager is presenting the product to your team and key stakeholders. Public speaking isn’t easy, even more so when you’re the one responsible for leading the product. As the product manager, you have to diplomatically convince an entire room of probably very opinionated people, that they should listen to you.
That’s why it’s important for you to be able to present the product yourself. It shows that you understand the steps necessary to solve the problem at hand, while still upholding the product vision.
While I can’t magically take away your nerves with a blog post (believe me, I wish it were that easy!) I can give you some pointers on how to give a solid product presentation.
Walk in with a plan
Have a plan for what you want to get out of your meeting. Walk in with confidence, let them know what you will be showing, what is expected of them, and what they are to expect from you. Try to keep this agenda as tight as possible so no one has the chance to bring up other problems.
This is about the product you’re presenting, not about the issues other people are having.
“This is my meeting. This is my product.”
Hey, guess what? Tell yourself whatever you need to in the mirror to remind yourself that you’re in control – because you are. Then go out there and own the room. Keep eye contact, speak calmly and pause between sentences for a little dramatic effect. You don’t need to rush this. If you’re doubting yourself, no one needs to know. Most importantly, don’t apologize for things that might be missing. Rather, take in unexpected comments as useful feedback.
Remember, product development is meant to be flexible and continuous. It’s as much your job to absorb new ideas as it is to provide answers, so use that to your advantage.
It’s not about features
Building a product is not about throwing a bunch of features together. You are there to give the product vision, direction, and most importantly, to solve a problem. Features may be there for a reason, just be sure to talk about the reason. Don’t give them a guided tour of what they’re seeing, rather talk about the goals – why are things there? What’s the end goal? Lead with the reason, not with the feature. If you can’t figure out what problem the feature is there to solve, then maybe you should reassess why it’s there in the first place.
If you have a product canvas ready, this is the right time to share it. Likewise, if you’ve built a roadmap, talk about what the current upcoming work is, and what other things you’ll be tackling in the near and future terms. Roadmaps are a great visual way to get people involved and talking.
Open yourself to feedback
Let your team, clients, and stakeholders to give feedback and suggest improvements they wish to see. Sometimes team mates or even clients may be afraid of being too critical. Sometimes they’re too harsh. Either way, take it with stride and open yourself to both the positive and the negative. It can only help you build a better product, and you’ll understand a little bit more what the end user is struggling with.
End with a ‘Thank you!’
It sucks when meetings go over, so try to end on time. Thank everyone for attending, but be sure that you’re not rushing people out the door. Take the time to answer questions, and for those questions that haven’t been answered, or that feedback you haven’t had a chance to tackle, provide a channel to continue the discussion.