From Pink Floyd’s song, Learning to Fly, a chorus line has “Tongue tied and twisted…” which got me thinking about how we can become when doing presentations. Especially in front of those we are not familiar with. With that in mind, this week’s feature will help you look at the different aspects of managing the ideal presentation.
Often presentations are in front of decision makers. Whether these be executives that take your information on to the rest of their teams or a buyer that you are looking to convince that your product is better than someone else’s. I have made some horrendous mistakes from juggling change in my trouser pockets (I’ll leave that image to form!) to arriving late and having equipment that didn’t work as expected. Learning from those mistakes led me to offering this feature to help or remind you of those pitfalls we need to overcome to ace your next presentation.
- Be succinct – In today’s climate, brevity is the ‘key’ and timing the ‘oil’ to make things run smooth. Refrain from turning up late, or on time if there is equipment like projectors to connect with as “Why won’t this connect” will not sit well with your audience (been there! Not a good place as panic can start to set in).
Introductions are a common place part of the presentation but make sure it is relevant to what you are discussing and not a biography of your working career.
Get to the main point of the presentation within 1 minute. Any more and the person or group you are presenting to will start to have questions raising in their heads and quite quickly, the whole presentation is derailed.
- Solutions not problems – “The market is down in this area”, “Couriers seem unreliable these days”, “There seems to be too many regulations”, “We need more staff” are problems to overcome but the person(s) you are in front of are not necessarily concerned about those, they are looking forward not back. This can potentially be someone else’s problem to deal with, they are focused on the future.
They are looking to defeat competitors, set long term goals and actions so sell solutions or better still, sell the problems that they will encounter and how YOU or your product, will help them. Promote to their emotional attachment and not the data.
- Sell the vision – There are numerous sayings around ‘facts tell, stories sell’ and although best not to use this in a presentation, consider the fact that what people buy is solutions to THEIR problems, not (well, not initially) the product.
If you sell the product, then the first conscious thought is “what are the features” followed quickly by “how much” and then “we’ll get back to you” enabling them to take the ‘data’ and find alternative prices/sources.
The attention should be centred on how you can help them achieve their immediate situation or better still, their three, five or ten year plan.
Promote the successes you have experienced. People have seen technology, full of high specs with an armoury of facts and figures fail. They, like you, will also have seen success grow exponentially like the game ‘Candy Crush’ that grew without any high specification. People trust their guts over any data, use stories of how you have helped others (Customers and even competitors!) and how they benefited from your services.
Continually ask “Would this prove beneficial to you” and once the nodding of agreement commences, only then should you start on features and then price. This will be less important as long as you are not way too expensive or, come to that, cheap.
- Drop any fear – In coaching, we often ask ”what’s the worst that could happen?” meaning, in this instance, that you may not win the contract etc. Yes, this may cause problems to finances but never fear the people you are addressing.
Executives or people in power often appear to enjoy deflating the motivation of even those who are there to help them out. It is a power thing, great, let them feel all powerful but you have the tool(s) to actually alleviate the fears that THEY currently have.
This may seem ludicrous on initial appearance but people with responsibilities have the power to make wise decisions but equally costly mistakes that may well affect their career objectives. Don’t fear them but assess what their fears may be and promote the solution.
- R and RRR – At coaching to success, we believe the R’s are the answer. Firstly, Research. Know what you are promoting and what the BENEFITS are to your audience, not the data. Therefore research into what ails them, what keeps them awake at nights. The three R’s are the key to presentation… rehearse, Rehearse and REHEARSE. Make the presentation fluid and seamless as possible. This conveys confidence and people buy into confidence.
Coaching to success look to positive outcomes and help clients to impart clear, interesting and beneficial presentations. The above will help you start but should you be looking to make that killer delivery then contact Neil on 07761 187238 or email email@example.com where you’ll be assured a warm welcome to discuss how we can help.
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