Few of us relish getting up in front of an audience at the best of times, and perhaps least of all when there’s the extra pressure of trying to sell your offering to a group of strangers! At the same time, the chance to wow a big potential client is an opportunity not to be missed, especially when so few of our modern communication channels these days actually offer face-to-face interaction. Whatever service or product you’re selling, we’ve put together some tried and tested tips to help you make the most of your next presentation.
Define your ‘Why’ – what are you hoping to accomplish?
It’s impossible to deliver a great presentation if you’re not clear of exactly what your objectives for delivering it in the first place are. You probably have one big goal – getting more business for your company – but you need to be more specific if you want to really impress them.
Let’s say you’re trying to get a new client on board for a premium service you offer. You know (and your potential client probably knows) that there are cheaper options on the market. In this scenario, your goal isn’t just selling the service, it’s also selling…
- Exactly what your service does that cheaper ones don’t
- How much greater their ROI will be if they choose you (i.e. why you’re worth the extra money and then some)
You may have additional goals in mind – such as simply creating a connection and building awareness of your brand. When you work with a product every day, it can be easy to go off track and get into technical details that a potential client doesn’t even want anyway – they just want to know that it will work for them! By always coming back to your primary objective, it’s easier to keep the focus where it should be.
Practice in front of your employees and outsiders
Some people are naturally great speakers and can command the floor without even having to think about it. Most of us (in fact 75% of the population), however, suffer from at least some level of glossophobia – the fear of public speaking.
Sadly, there’s only one real cure for it – practice – and not just in front of the mirror. The closer you can get to emulating the pressure of the real thing, the better. Start off with a small group of close friends or family, and then level up to your colleagues or employees.
Getting an outside opinion is also a good way to make sure you’re delivering at the right level and not getting too technical. Ask your audience to highlight anything they found confusing, and encourage them to give you honest feedback about any parts that just aren’t working for them.
Make sure you’ve got the right equipment, then test and test again
Nothing can derail a presentation and throw you off your stride faster than running into technical difficulties! If at possible, test all your equipment in different environments – such as both at home and in the office – as this way you’ll quickly see if you’re missing any easily overlooked cables, or need to make other adjustments.
If you’re going to be delivering the presentation in a large room, then check that those seated further back will be able to hear you naturally, or if you’ll need a microphone and audio system. It’s also a good idea to hire a projector, ideally a high definition model, so those slides you worked so hard on will be clearly visible!
Ask questions and encourage feedback from time to time
Keep your audience on their toes and paying attention by sprinkling in calls for feedback or opinions from time to time. Even just asking for them to agree with or acknowledge your previous statement every now and then can help keep their attention from wandering. This is your moment, so don’t feel bad about doing what you have to to keep the focus on you!
Realize and accept that it isn’t going to be perfect – and that’s a good thing!
One of the reasons so many people are terrified of public speaking is they feel they’re expected to deliver a perfect pitch without a single stutter or fumble. Not only is this extremely unlikely (if not practically impossible) it would be dehumanizing even if you did manage to pull it off. After all, you’re trying to connect with and impress people, not intimidate them with your machine-like precision!
Stumbling over your words here and there, getting a little lost, acknowledging your ‘oopsie’ and sharing a laugh with your audience can actually make you come across as a whole lot more human and relatable. This is good for your cause, so embrace imperfection and roll with it!