Monthly Archives: October 2012

It’s all about the Presentation

Monday, October 29, 2012

There is nothing like a perfect cast with a fly rod.  Your backcast is smooth as you feel the line tension, and you watch as the weighted line propels the fly exactly where you want it.  Of course, it also helps when your prize fish takes a bite!  I’m not the most talented fly fisherman, so that feeling doesn’t happen as often as I’d like.  When it does, I tend to look around for recognition.  Do I expect the fish to look up like Mr. Limpet and say, “Way to go Tim”? Not really, but when the cast is done right, it’s like the feeling I get after making a great golf shot or finishing a pain-free run.

A lot of time, planning and resources go into preparing for the perfect presentation of an artificial lure that makes a fish want to grasp it. Depending on the fish species you seek and where you are fishing, presentation decisions include fly rod weight, size and action; reel drag; line, leader and tippet size; and fly size and pattern.  When you get to the water, you have to be prepared and willing to adjust your plan, so you typically bring more tools than you will use.  Failure and wasted time are the costs of lack of preparation. You can’t be flexible if you don’t anticipate the need to adapt.  I paid the price in Canada last year as I watched Walleye feasting on mayflies, and I didn’t have the right lures to attract those fish.  It’s not fun!

I recently attended a presentation made by an aspiring entrepreneur.  He must not have understood the importance of fully preparing for his pitch to this group of accredited investors.  Confidence in his unique product created a fog that prevented him from seeing why we were there and what our goals were.  I’m guessing he didn’t spend any time in advance learning about his audience. He was casting what he thought we should want to hear, so he paid dearly by missing a great chance to obtain funding.  He needed to understand where he was fishing, know what fish he was looking for, and then present his product in a way that would attract the audience members to invest in his product.

I watched the documentary “The Fog of War” in which the former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said that he prepared roughly three hours for each one hour of presentations he was to make to Senate and Congress committees. That sounds about right to me.  Last week, I recorded 26 hours of planning and preparation time for 10 client meetings.  Before each client meeting, I review my history with the client and note their goals, strengths, obstacles and concerns.  I then prepare updates for their tax planning, estate, risk management, investment planning, retirement and business plans.  We help clients address complicated and fluid goals and concerns, so I must carefully prepare before each meeting, and I need to anticipate changes.

To catch the personal, professional, financial or other trophy fish are you seek, you need to invest time and resources to prepare for your presentations and make sure they are focused on the needs of your audience.  Doing so will allow you to catch your dream fish. More importantly, you will have control over how you catch it, choosing the rivers and streams or oceans you fish in.

Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We strive to deliver transparent, proactive, independent, and comprehensive planning and communications to the families we work for”.

HighTower Advisors LLC, its affiliates and HighTower Advisor’s Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice.  You need to consult your legal and tax professional when making any investment.1253048-2010.10


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