Whether presenting information to a prospective client or conducting an in-house training program, the objective of your presentation is to be memorable. You want your listeners to remember all key points, as well as the principal data used to back up your conclusions.

A visual presentation provides a great deal of information in an easily-understood format. You could write paragraphs on a subject, or you could produce a pie chart that delivers a visual representation of all that data. One format requires reading and analysis. The other requires just a quick glance to get the key information.

Analyze the audience. Are they insiders who speak the same jargon, or are they outsiders looking for basic information about your company or product? Before you prepare your presentation, find out who you’ll be speaking to so you can customize your content to suit the knowledge and mindset of the audience.

Start by sharing your credibility. Staffers may know you, but in what context? New prospects may need an introduction: name, company, position, reason you’re there. Provide a short professional biography to build credibility and the prospect’s trust.

Don’t force technology on your listeners. Just because you can create a visual presentation doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If you’re selling handbags, product samples may be more effective than product shots. If there’s a better way to be memorable, use it and let the technology work for you in other ways.

Why are we here? Start your presentation with a list of objectives, i.e., set the presentation agenda. “We’re going to cover these five points in sequence and develop a strategy to address the company’s high employee turnover rate.” All participants will know why they’re there, what your objectives are, and what you expect the meeting’s outcome to be.

Focus on the key points, not on the tech delivering the key points. You may spend a lot of time creating a PowerPoint® presentation with stunning graphics, multi-colored fonts, and text that swoops in and does somersaults. But it’s probably smarter for prospects to focus on the content, rather than on your skills in creating a slide deck. Use bullet points, charts and graphs, maps of the company’s service area and other pertinent information to present information that will be remembered.

Keep presentations on point, keep them short, and use visuals to enhance or clarify the spoken presentation.

Avoid “reading” your presentation. If all you do is read the text on screen, at least some listeners are going to drift off and start putting together their home shopping lists.

Provide take-away materials. If you’re making a presentation to a new prospect, be sure to have a brochure, sell sheet, even a smart phone app for prospects to stay in touch and, eventually, convert to buyers.

Leave-behinds keep your company name in front of prospects long after you leave. Use the presentation to pique interest and the print materials to keep your company in front of prospects after you leave.

Rehearse your presentation. If you “wing it,” the presentation may not be as effective as a well-designed, well-rehearsed performance. Make sure all equipment is working, that the visual presentation is letter perfect, and that your spoken presentation enhances and works with the visuals on screen.

Be yourself. Don’t turn into a comedian or a high-pressure salesperson. Relax and let the presentation keep the meeting moving forward. Simply talk to listeners, don’t talk at them. Keep your eyes focused on the eyes of audience members. Establish a connection to be truly memorable.

Finally, ask questions. Solicit engagement with listeners. If you do all the talking, you may miss discussion points that should be added to the meeting’s agenda. If presenting to a group, asking questions can lead to interaction between various parties who may look at a challenge or opportunity from different perspectives. Use your presentation to encourage group discussion.

A powerful presentation is one in which listeners and audience members take away something valuable – new information, contact information, benefits, numbers – whatever they need to make the right business decisions.

A picture may indeed be worth a thousand words, but a well-organized presentation may be worth a thousand bucks. Do it right and you may earn more. Do it wrong and you’re probably wasting a lot of time. It’s as simple as that. 

 


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.