Your corporate presentation doesn't have to suck!

Posted by Keith Jolie on Monday, September 24, 2012 Under: Strategies
We've all suffered through them, we've complained about them, we've all said "I'll never get that hour back"

Death by PowerPoint, and the drone of someone reading to you - it's simply awful.  The worst part of it - usually this horrible means of communication is used to try to SELL something.

Ok, so you've got a presentation coming up to an important client - how do you make it not suck?

I'm going to give you 8 points to consider:

1.  Tell a story

Everyone loves to hear a good story.  When you go to a party or spend some time with friends, I doubt that you spend much time talking about the chronological span of events since you last saw them . You don't make lists of things you are going to talk about in the evening.  You certainly don't print out a sheet of paper with everything you're going to say and hand it to them at the beginning of the why do we do this to strangers and business colleagues during presentations?

Instead:  Tell a story about how your current clients interact with you, where they came from, why they chose to work with you and where they are now.  Help a prospective client to visualize what a pleasure it will be to work with you and how much further ahead they'll be having done so.  Tell them how everyone lives happily ever after - it's an ending that has been proven to work.

2. Focus on a Solution

Your client is well aware of their problems - If you spend time telling them about their challenge or "what you've heard" you risk a couple of things 1) making them feel anxiety at the beginning of your presentation 2) incorrectly stating their problems and thus demonstrating that you don't understand them...

Instead - focus on your solution right from the start and demonstrate that you understand their problems by presenting (in your story) a solution that will eliminate their problem.

3.  Be Unique

 It is fair to assume that you won't be the only person presenting to your audience, so be sure to clearly address what makes you unique, and what your strength is.  In any industry, there is a tendency for most companies to say many of the same things.  "We provide business solutions for small and mid sized businesses" does not differentiate you.  Think about the clients with whom you've had the most success - why was that?  What unique characteristic made you stand out?  If you don't know - go ask them and then use their answer in your presentation.  Early in your presentation you should say something along the lines of "we're unique because.....(your reason here)"

4. Use lots of pictures - Don't use a lot of words

Look up...if I were making a presentation about this topic, I would have used 3 slides so far.  The three pictures you see above - no text whatsoever.  Find a graphic that will help your audience picture what you're talking about, and then let them listen to you.  Don't let your slides do the talking.  If you put all your information up on the screen - there will be no need to listen to you.

5.  Text - when used should only act as a headline for the slide.

When you skim over a newspaper how do you decide what articles you will read?  The headlines of course.  The text on your slides should be the headlines for what you are about to say - make them snappy and interest catching so that your audience will want to hear the rest of the article;  your speaking points.

6.  Use speakers notes to keep you on track

Don't rely on the slides to lead you through your presentation.  If you have ever watched a TED talk, their presentations usually illustrate this point.  Your presentation will have a very polished look and you will be perceived as more knowledgeable if you appear to be speaking off the cuff without referring to the slides.  Keep POINT FORM notes in front of you for each slide to keep you on track.  Point form so that you don't end up just reading.

7.  Put on a show

Be a bit of a rock star.  Dress well and don't be afraid to stand out a bit from the crowd.  Create your presentation with a consistent feel, keep your fonts the same and the same size, and keep the pace of your presentation brisk.  The natural tendency is to become more quiet over the course of a presentation - pay attention to your dynamics which also means not leaving all the "serious stuff" to the end of your presentation - remember point 1...and they all lived happily ever after.

8.  Use humour...carefully

Humour and a light tone can be great to keep your audience engaged - but try it out on a colleague (preferably someone who has a sense of humour) and be careful not to let humour take away from credibility.

I hope your next presentation goes great!  And if you need some help creating it get in touch!

By Keith Jolie

In : Strategies 

Tags: corporate presentations powerpoint meetings sales 
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