How can you make the most of every opportunity you have to present to your customers or key influencer? Here are my tips for your presentation.
1. Audience first
Spend time thinking about your audience, what they may already know your organisation or the topic. Create a “persona” to guide you – give your persona a name – what they’re like, why they’re here, their hopes and fears and how you can solve their problem.
2. Your message
Keep to one key message. You can solve their problem if they buy your product, invest in your project or change a policy. Stephen Covey says inThe 7 habits of highly effective people; “begin with the end in mind”. If you’re not sure what the audience should think, feel and believe by the end of your presentation, then use a pad of sticky notes and start some creative doodling; translate “buy my marketing services” into “hear how XYZ improved results by delighting their customers”. Always focus on the benefit to the audience.
3. Plan creatively
Step away from the keyboard…. and plan out the key points you need to get across. Then add a story or illustration for each one. Rather than saying that your taxi company has more drivers than anyone else, share a story about a client you got to the airport on time despite incredible odds! Although most business presentations need to contain facts and figures, it’s the stories which create emotional connection and are memorable.
If you have charts and graphs – ask yourself; “will this chart make it easier for THIS audience to understand THIS message?” If not, don’t use it. Detailed data can be provided through a handout or a follow-up email.
4. Find images
Using your own photos is great. Alternatively, getfree-to-use ones under the “Creative Commons”. Alternatively use a low-cost photo library – there are plenty around. Photos, quotes and videos from your current customers can help. If you are presenting at an event, make sure that your first and last slides have your name, contact details and Twitter handle and the event hashtag.
5. Rehearse, rehearse
Although you’re not aiming for perfection, practice will make you better. Rehearse what you’ll say and how you’ll use your slides. Go back to your persona(s) and imagine their reaction as you make your points. Make notes that you can use to help you, but don’t read them to the audience. The rehearsal process builds confidence and allows you to practise your timing. If you’ve been given 20 minutes to present, then don’t prepare 40 minutes. You may end up being dragged off the stage!
6. Check equipment
Check what equipment you’ll need and pay attention to connectors for screens and projectors. Bring spares of everything including a power extension cable. Have your presentation on a USB stick – just in case. Remember; things can change at the last minute, so be prepared to adapt. Arrive early so that you can test that everything is working.
7. Enjoy the delivery
Take a deep breath, relax, smile. Then enjoy the experience of delivering your powerful presentation to an audience that will be happy to listen and convinced by your message.
Whether it’s a sales pitch to a client or an update in a team huddle, what’s most important is to focus on the needs of the audience and make sure your message is useful to them. By doing that you’ll deliver a powerful presentation and provide an experience that is enjoyable and useful for you and your audience.