ProSpeak: A Not-So-Common Understanding of Fundraising and Common Sense
Did you ever have an experience you really didn't understand until years later? Let me tell you about mine.
I landed my first job as a research analyst in a business research company shortly after graduating from a rigorously scientific doctoral program. My first client was a brand manager for a national food manufacturer, and my first professional assignment was a research project to explore how people reacted to alternative forms of a new Chinese fast-food product our client wanted to introduce to the marketplace.
A typically enthusiastic newbie, I jumped into this assignment with youthful exuberance and the desire to demonstrate my skills, which I was cocksure were superior to anything this client had ever experienced before. Harnessing the deep analytical skills my major professor had drilled into me for the last three years, I gathered data to explore our test consumers' attitudes, perceptions and reactions to the newly proposed fast-food prototypes. Quantitative data. Qualitative data. Data from individuals. Data from focus groups. Then, with an enormously powerful computer for that time (40 years ago), I put the numbers through multivariate analyses and skillfully cross-indexed my findings with an innovative qualitative analysis.
Results in hand, I delivered my very first presentation to a client. My boss looked on and provided a masterly perspective on consumer behavior that handsomely complemented my superb, but narrow, mastery of the data. Because this predated personal computers, I had no PowerPoint program to depend on. (How in the world did we do things without PowerPoint?!) Instead, working with handouts, computer-generated tables and flip charts, I spent two hours laying out my findings about the most promising food concept and recommendations about how to take it to market.
Our client was receptive, the meeting ended in a most cordial manner and we were all invited to dinner at a fine local restaurant.