This article is about making your message or presentation more powerful. It’s based on my doctoral research into why Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is so incredibly persuasive after being in office more than one decade.
You know our communication-cluttered environment makes it harder sometimes to get your message across. Many messages are competing for attention. It’s not fun to see people texting while you’re in middle of your presentation.
However, if you know what your message behind your message is, your presentation is automatically more powerful.
The communication process is like this: You have this idea in your head that you want to share with someone. You come up with a medium for that message. The medium could be a phone call, a blog post, a text, or email, or a messenger pigeon. In this case, it’s your presentation to some VIP or important group of people.
What you say and write and use for visual support is the message.
What benefit the audience gets from accepting your message is the message behind the message.
Let’s look at an example.
In case you haven’t had the chance to read my dissertation;-), I’ll let you in on a few reasons why Hugo Chavez is able to garner support to continue taking Venezuela away from democracy, and toward dictatorship. He’s been in power since 1999 and still hanging in there.
To begin with, Chavez is a master orator. In other words, he tells great stories.
His real message, which comes across as “For fun, let’s have a revolution and I’ll play the role of master” is really “I promise to take care of you better than you can take care of yourself.”
No matter what stories he tells, the message is the same.
He’s very clear on the benefits he thinks he can provide a significant number of Venezuelans.
His supporters are likewise clear that they, as their world is currently structured, cannot provide for themselves the lifestyle to which they aspire.
They share that premise. The premise is I, Hugo Chavez, do not believe you can take very good care of yourselves, but I can do that for you with the money from our oil resources. All you have to do is vote for me no matter what.
So what does this have to do with us?
Think about what your message behind the message really is. AND….what are your assumptions about your audience? Are they capable of taking care of themselves? Are they intelligent enough to accept your argument? Are you strong enough to allow some people to disagree with you? Are you willing to go the extra mile to back up your message with clear evidence?
Whatever it is that you believe about your audience, you reinforce that belief in your presentation. And they respond accordingly. Do you trust them to make an intelligent decision after your presentation?
The next time you prepare a presentation or get ready to deliver some important message, think about why you’re there in the first place. That’s your message behind your message. Get clear about that and your message will become superpowerful.
This article is about making your message or presentation more powerful. It’s based on my doctoral research into why Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is so incredibly persuasive after being in office more than one decade.
Ladies, we need to talk. I’ve been to many seminars over the years and there is nothing more heartbreaking and annoying than to see a woman mess up her speech because of her choice of clothing. We all want to look our best, especially when we’re one of the speakers. Please take the time to consider if your choice in clothes helps your speech or deters from it. Below is a list of mistakes I’ve seen. Review it and make sure that the next time you speak your audience doesn’t walk away remembering your distracting outfit.
o Noisy jewelry: There is nothing more annoying to an audience member than a speaker wearing noisy jewelry. If your bracelet jingles or your earring jangle, don’t wear it to a speech. A speaker needs to be dynamic and make gestures to illustrate their points. If your jewelry is noisy, that’s all the audience hears. We sit in our chairs concentrating on your jewelry. It’s simply distracting. So when you chose your jewelry, move around in every which direction to see if it creates any noise that would be distracting. If it does, make a different selection.
o Unprofessional dress: This goes for both men and women. Speaking in front of a group, whether it’s your peers, superiors, or strangers, is an honor. You should always be dressed at least one “notch” higher than your audience. If the meeting is casual, dress business casual. If the meeting is business casual, dress in full business attire. If you are speaking to a group, you are the expert on your topic, be dressed as such.
o Uncomfortable shoes: Be good to yourself and save your feet from unnecessary pain. If you are going to be speaking for any length of time, don’t wear your tallest, thinnest heals. Find something that’s appropriate but comfortable. If you’re constantly thinking about your feet when you’re speaking, somethings wrong. I would suggest flats if you can get away with it. I’m pretty short and find my confidence is higher if I have some heals on because it changes the way I walk. But they’re not too high that it kills my feet. I have actually seen a woman get up and speak for 40 minute presentation, and after the first 10 minutes she grabbed a seat and said, “I hope you don’t mind if I sit down, these shoes are killing me.” I spent the next 5 minutes picking my jaw off the floor.
o Extra Tip: If you ever give a presentation that is being recorded for future use, do not wear white or heavily patterned clothes. The white will flush your skin tone out and the patterns will be distracting because the camera will have a hard time picking it up. Just an extra tip to help you get the best recording possible.
The spectacular presentation opportunities of your teleseminar audio content are endless.
It’s called repurposing; that is… taking something that you already have and creating many other things with it. Well, teleseminar audio content is a perfect fit for this. From recorded audio you can create so much more.
With these Top 10 ideas, let’s get the creative juices flowing…
- The audio file itself. You can make the audio file available free to your teleseminar registrants (bonus!), and charge a fee to others.
- Transcripts. Simple and relatively inexpensive to get done. Again you may want to offer them as a free bonus to the registrants… but offering them as an “extra” for a nominal fee has worked for many people as well.
- An e-book. Producing an e-book is a lot easier to accomplish than publishing a physical book, and you get to keep more of the profits from the sale!
- Blog postings. Either by breaking a long teleseminar into “chunks” to create several smaller, more topic-based blog postings, or by writing a short introduction and including the entire teleseminar audio; you’ve created a captivating entry.
- A mini e-course. Again it can be broken up into “modules” or just left as one unit. Your students can learn online at their convenience.
- Autoresponders. Having your autoresponder content consist of valuable information will have you standing out in the internet crowd.
- Articles, articles and more articles! From your teleseminar content you can create several informative and content-rich articles.
- Free bonus gift. Now that your audio content is packaged into a recorded audio file, you can offer it up as a free bonus gift on any other products you sell.
- Podcasts. Simply take the audio you have and make it available as a podcast. Your clients then have the option of consuming your content anytime, anywhere. You’ve made it portable.
- A spectacular presentation. In this format, your audio content is married with informative, entertaining and engaging visuals in a power point presentation. This presentation is then delivered to your clients over the internet, or via podcast. In this format, your client can see and hear your teleseminar content.
As you can see, these ideas are only a fraction of the immense possibilities created from recorded teleseminar audio content. Let your imagination run wild!
Truly memorable disasters don’t just happen. They require a special blend of misunderstanding and misguided effort. Here are three ways to guarantee a disaster in your next presentation, and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Believe in Magic
Show up hoping that a coherent, eloquent, useful presentation will magically appear
once you start speaking. Avoid any type of preparation. Just wing it.
> What Happens
Everyone is amazed by the presentation because they expected more. They are also
bored and disappointed. They may even become upset because an unprepared
presentation insults the audience by wasting their time. Unprepared presentations
sound like, well, unprepared presentations.
Prepare. Identify the goal for your talk. Design a presentation that achieves that
goal. Talk with key members of the audience about their expectations. Rehearse.
Mistake #2: Memorize your speech.
Spend untold hours committing every precious word to memory so that you can
recite it even if awakened in the middle of the night.
> What Happens
You sound like a machine. And if you stumble on a word, you can become stuck–
speechless. I’ve seen this happen, and it’s painful.
Learn your presentation. Yes, write a script. Memorize the first and last sentences
and then practice giving the presentation without looking at the script. Practice
many times. Eventually, you will learn how to convey the key ideas in a natural,
Mistake #3: Talk About Yourself
Focus entirely on yourself. Tell about your background, your credentials, and your
history. Tell your story. Just talk about yourself. Make the presentation all about
you, yourself, and your life.
> What Happens
They listen politely. If you manage to be entertaining enough, they may actually pay
attention. Otherwise, the audience reacts by thinking, “So what?”
Talk about the audience. That is, talk about what they need and how they can
Grow your business by using positive, up-beat presentation skills.
The classic saying is a little different. I know. But, humor me. Here’s the version to help you win new clients and boost your business.
“You catch more clients with honey – than with vinegar.”
Think about it.
When you are energetic, happy and positive – it shows. People feel it. And these days, with so many sorry stories and awful reports, a smiling face attracts business.
Clients are looking for more than just a good deal or a cheap price. They want to have a positive experience with vendors and strategic partners. When you smile, add value, and are unswervingly positive – people notice.
Just consider the case of two sales professionals. Let’s call them: Mike and Dave.
Mike is happy, energetic and passionate in presenting. He smiles even when the going gets rough. He has a ‘can-do’ attitude and remarkable perseverance. Clients and prospects look forward to talking with him and always feel that they got more than expected. They remember him for years after meeting him.
Now, let’s look at Dave.
Dave is brilliant. And he knows it. In fact, he thinks he is smarter than everyone else. He tends to give presentations that are educational and informative – but there’s always a touch of cynicism.
It seems to the audience as if Dave feels he has more important things to do. People remember this gut feeling – and guess how it makes them feel?
Hint: more is showing than you think.
Plus, it gets more intense. Mike and Dave are now using video and webinars. They are running virtual meetings for clients and prospects. Their attitudes are showing on camera- more than they think.
Here’s why: If you are giving presentations on camera, everything shows. Big time.
Your attitude is transparent. What you are feeling gets magnified on camera. Let’s talk about you tube, Internet video and leadership videocasts. Let’s talk about customer webinars and virtual meetings with prospects.
How does your attitude show? It shows up in: Your voice. Your timeliness. Your demeanor. Your tone. Your body language. These all speaks volumes. And if you aren’t literally in the room to correct perceptions and clarify what you really mean.
My hunch is this is a primal response:
No one likes being talked down to.
It reminds us of school. Being scolded by parents. Reprimands from teachers at boarding school or officers at military training. It reminds us of all the times we were criticized, ostracized, or put down.
It’s an awful feeling, much kind of like getting a report card full of failing marks. Or a red-inked paper filled with, “Poor research!” “Needs rewrite” written in all capital letters.
But, back to our two-some. Who wins more clients? Who do people want to work with – Mike or Dave?
Hmmm. Tough choice.
Take Mike’s lead. In business presenting – in person and on camera, be energetic, passionate and positive. This is the mark of a vendor people choose to work with.
Get exceptional results by focusing on your positive attitude and learning new presentation skills. Tell simple, easy-to-understand stories and grow your business with dynamic, upbeat delivery.
When you are making a sales presentation, experts advise you to target the decision maker. They assume that if the decision maker is satisfied, then your product/service will be sold.
There are a number of articles with advice on how to find the decision maker in an organization by getting past a gatekeeper etc. The focus of this article is more on what happens next. Having found a senior person responsible; if you are given a slot for making a presentation to a group, then what happens? Is it okay to simply address the person who set up the presentation? Will they be able to take a decision in your favor? Or else would you be wasting your time?
Here are some usual assumptions sales presenters make:
1. Senior-most person: The decision maker may not be the senior most individual. He or she may defer to someone else’s point of view, and you might have completely missed out addressing that person in the presentation. It is possible that you got the contact through a business card exchange. But it doesn’t mean you know how his or her mind works. Sometimes just the title doesn’t really determine the person’s responsibility – so beware of making assumptions.
2. Gender: Many times, presenters typically address only the senior men and ignore the women in the group. The man may not always take decisions even if he asked more questions or seemed more interested.
3. Single decision maker: It may be possible that there is more than one decision maker. When there are a number of people attending the presentation, it is not possible to say which factor would affect the ultimate decision.
As you can see, it is very difficult to identify such a person, especially if the group is new to you. So, what options does a sales presenter have?
Follow these simple rules:
1. Address everyone: Address all of your audience when you are speaking, ensure that you make eye contact with all of them and answer all queries equally courteously, no matter who asks them.
2. Stop when 80% are convinced: When 80% or more of your audience seem convinced then you can be sure you have addressed the decision makers in one way or the other.
This applies for the first meeting. As a sales presenter, you would usually follow up on your presentation with the group. This is the time when you can get deeper into understanding who takes decisions and nuances which lie under the surface. It will help you when you are ready to sell to them the next time.
I am attending one of my client’s company meetings. There are 200 employees in the room. You can feel the buzz and excitement in the room. Upbeat music is playing, and a slick Power Point presentation is spinning, doing action packed transitions on a big screen. The music slowly fades down, and the group leader confidently strides to the lectern. In a few short minutes, the energy and enthusiasm in the room is dead, the unfortunate victim of a horrible presentation. The speaker stumbles over her words, stares at the audience uncomfortably, and grips the lectern with white knuckles. Meanwhile, everyone’s interest flatlines. This speaker is a leader, but she (obviously) doesn’t present like one. This should never happen. As I travel around the country, I see leaders at all levels who are absolutely disastrous speakers. If you’re in a leadership role, you’ve got to be able to speak and present well.
Leaders in any organization have to be strong presenters and public speakers. They are required to speak in prepared speeches, Q&A sessions and extemporaneous speaking. If you are in a leadership role and you aren’t great at public speaking, you need help immediately. If you can’t speak and present well, you may be killing your career as a leader. You need help, stat. Here are two compelling reasons why you should take your presentation abilities seriously:
●Perception, perception, perception- a critical aspect of leadership (like it or not) is perception. When people present and speak, the audience forms immediate perceptions about them. Is this person competent, confident, clear, thoughtful, and articulate? Whether it’s fair or not, groups will make judgments about your competency as a leader based on how well you speak.
●Communication- speaking and presenting helps to provide effective communication in a leadership role. It is one tool that can make it easier for leaders to make a connection with the group. Presenting can get them to be enthusiastic about the team, goals, objectives, and organization. It is a way to inspire and motivate. If a leader can’t communicate in a clear, compelling way, then the team will not follow them as a leader. In some larger organizations, the only time employees are exposed to a leader is when they hear them speak at a meeting. So which is it, brilliant or boring? Dull or dynamic? Articulate or anesthetic?
Here are five tips any leader can use today to get better at presenting and speaking.
1.Get an idea as to where you are- have a colleague that you trust observe you while you are speaking or presenting. Have them agree to give you honest, unvarnished feedback on what you are doing well and on what you could improve. Someone else needs to observe you, because you can’t be objective. You can’t see yourself when you’re presenting, and may not have an awareness of habits and idiosyncrasies. You may use certain hand motions repeatedly. You may say “okay” twenty times in five minutes. Having an objective observer help you to identify both your strengths and areas for improvement.
2.Study and read- when was the last time you worked on your own development? If you have to stop and think about it, it’s been too long. Get some books or audio programs on public speaking. A quick search of Amazon.com revealed that there were 1,929 books listed on public speaking alone! Start studying the art and science of speaking and presenting. Write down specific ideas and techniques you want to incorporate and try the next time you speak.
3.Watch other speakers- Every time you see other speakers, notice the techniques they’re using, what they are doing well, and, in your opinion, what doesn’t work. Notice what they are doing vocally. Notice their body language. Take note of any visuals that they may use. Observe how they organize their content. Notice how the audience is reacting. Try to determine if some of the techniques they are using would work for you. Great speakers always study other great speakers and emulate them.
4.Videotape yourself- as the old saying goes, the camera doesn’t lie. Set up a camera and film your next presentation. When you record yourself giving a speech or a presentation, you get a picture of what the audience is seeing and hearing. No editing or polishing, you see it all. Take some quiet, uninterrupted time and watch the video. Set aside your ego and your pride. Write down what went well. It is important to know your strengths because, obviously, you want to keep dong them and build on them. What do you see on the video that makes you unique and compelling? Write down areas for improvement, and, more importantly, what you can do to change them. (If you’ve been studying and reading, as suggested in step 2 above, this will be a lot easier for you.)
5.Get outside help- there are many valuable resources to help improve your speaking and presenting skills.
●Option #1- Toastmasters- Toastmasters is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people improve their speaking and leadership skills. Here is how it works: they have regular meetings in your area. At each meeting, people give prepared speeches and get feedback from predetermined evaluators. There is also a portion of each Toastmasters meeting called Table topics and this gives people practice with speaking off the cuff. Toastmasters is inexpensive, (under $100 per year) and very effective, because people who attend Toastmasters are all there for the same reason – to get better at speaking. Find a club near you at http://www.toastmasters.org.
●Option #2- Get a private speaking coach who can work with you one on one. It is an expensive, but highly effective, method, because you get individual attention.
●Option#3- Find the hundreds of training organizations that offer public seminars on public speaking, and attend them.
I believe the future will require these skills to be even more important in a leadership role. Leaders must be great communicators, and when they speak they have to make an instant impression – a positive one. If you don’t feel that you can make a strong impression now, then get help before it’s too late. Don’t become another statistic.
Nowadays PowerPoint is a common tool used to assist in presentations. The slides should provide your audience with an at-a-glance understanding of the material to support your main points.
Good slides are:
- Visible – with ideally three to four words per line and five lines per slide
- Clear – each slide should only contain one idea
- Simple – use words and phrases or pictures rather than sentences
Keeping these points in mind, let’s look at the four steps to creating your presentation.
1. Create and structure your content
When creating your content, consider:
- Who is your audience?
- What is the objective of your presentation?
- What do you want your audience to do as a result of your presentation?
Then order your main points into a logical format.
Presenters often fall into the trap of writing their whole presentation on their slides. When this happens, your audience will spend too much time trying to read the slide rather than listen to you.
Follow the KIS rule – Keep It Simple remembering that less is more.
Use pictures. Pictures are worth a thousand words. They are more interesting to look at and can help boost retention. At the same time, avoid the use of too much animation. This can be a major distracter for your audience. Use it only if it will add to your presentation.
3. Design the slides
Use a font that is easy to read. San serif fonts such as Arial work better on a projected image.
PowerPoint comes with a default setting of 44 points for the title and 32 points for the body of a slide. If you’d prefer to use a smaller font size, ensure that it can still be read.
Capitalise only when necessary. Capitals imply shouting. It is also more difficult for the human eye to read.
Use a colour of font that contrasts with the background. Occasionally use colour to emphasise a point.
Colour can also be used to reinforce the logic of the structure of your slides. For example, a light blue title and a dark blue text.
Keep your backgrounds simple and use the same one throughout your slide presentation. This ensures that the content of the slide is easy to read and your message is understood.
Trends are easier to visualise in graphical form. In saying this, graphs need to be easily understood.
To ensure this, follow these steps:
- Remove any unnecessary minor gridlines
- Ensure that the font is easily read
- Use colours that are logical. That is, if you’re comparing the sale of blue and red balls using a column graph then the columns should be in the respective colours.
- Avoid any unnecessary shading
- Always title your slides
Proof read your slides
Proof read your slides for spelling and grammar. An incorrectly spelt word will be quickly picked up by audience members and will detract from your presentation.
4. Practise! Practise! Practise!
Once you’ve organised your slides, it’s important to practise the presentation with the slideshow.
Remember that you are the most important visual. You should stand in a left to right orientation to the slideshow from the audience’s perspective. This is because audiences in the western hemisphere read from left to right.
Will you be using the laptop keyboard or a remote to move from slide to slide? How will this affect where you stand when presenting?
To deliver effective PowerPoint presentations, your presentation needs to flow, so ensure you practise using whatever equipment you’ll need. Make the slideshow part of your presentation to complement your message.
Keeping these points in mind, you’ll be able to produce slides that will enhance your message and avoid the dreaded death by PowerPoint.
I recently came across an op-ed article in the New York Times by David Brooks that struck me as significant for the art of presenting. In his piece, Brooks examines “The Mental ABC’s of Pitching” by the sport psychologist H.A. Dorfman.While the book is geared towards professional pitchers, I feel that Dorfman’s advice can be extended quite naturally to presentations. As told by Brooks, what Dorfman “offers is to liberate people from what you might call the tyranny of the scattered mind.” This sort of tyranny is not closeted to baseball however: any highly demanding activity can be undermined by a lack of focus. The everyday mind is like an out-of-control chariot: without direction and jumping from one thing to the next, it is almost impossible to prepare for anything important. This is where mental discipline comes in.Coming back to the baseball analogy, I had a coach in high-school tell me that “you play the way you practice;” as I’ve grown older, I continue to see the truth of this statement. When it comes to public speaking and presenting, practice is crucial. As Dorfman continues: “Self-discipline is a form of freedom. Freedom from laziness and lethargy, freedom from expectations and demands of others, freedom from weakness and fear – and doubt.” This is completely consistent with the story I tell in the workshop about Eugen Herrigel from “Zen in the Art of Archery.” Herrigel spent 1 year learning how to stand, how to hold the bow and how to breathe before he ever put an arrow to the blow string. That intense practice frees up the mind from other distractions. This is also necessary in presenting. Now while I don’t suggest you take a year to learn how to introduce yourself, nonetheless, master presenters must own their material and their technique in a way that they don’t even have to think about it. It must come as naturally as the rains in spring or “as snow falls from a bamboo leaf” as Herrigel’s instructor Master Kenzo Awa put it.
How do we practice to achieve such fluidity? For starters, most people forget that it is equally important to practice non-verbal delivery skills as well verbal delivery skills. This sort of practice helps to cement your technique in your muscle memory. If you do not practice this way, you are less likely to meet with success.
Returning to Brooks analysis of Dorfman, “by putting the task at the center, Dorfman illuminates the way the body and the mind communicate with each other. Once there were intellectuals who thought the mind existed above the body, but that’s been blown away by evidence. In fact, it’s easiest to change the mind by changing behavior, and that’s probably as true in the office as on the mound.” This is the essence of the teaching of our workshop. Motivation follows action, not vice versa; change your behavior and you will change the way you think. As E. Thomas Berr PH.D put it in the The Tao of Sales: “It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking than think yourself into a new way of acting.” Indeed, this is the essence of the Zen way: through intense practice of mindfulness (being present right here, right now) the mind can be calmed and focused, not the other way around.
Brooks continues that “There are two locales in a pitcher’s universe – on the mound and off the mound. Off the mound is for thinking about the past and future, on the mound is for thinking about the present.” How this can be related back to presenting is that there are two geographies for the master presenter: “on stage” and “off stage;” off stage is the correct place for thinking about past and future, on stage, however, is for thinking about the present only. This includes focusing on the material as well as the audience in a way that is both flexible and unforced.
To get to this point I suggest that you don’t stop yourself in your practice sessions. What would you do if you made a mistake or misspoke? Practice it like you would in front of an audience. Then you’ll be more adept at reacting and thinking on your feet; there is no substitute for this type of practice. Mark Twain said it best, “It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.”
Just like a baseball game, a presentation is a spectacle, with a thousand points of interest. Nonetheless, master presenters reduce it all to a series of simple tasks: a presenters personality isn’t at the center, nor is their talent. This is often where presenters go wrong. They focus too much on how the audience is viewing them or on how competent or incompetent they are being. An excellent presentation however is not about the false-self of the presenter or the audience: at the center is the task of presenting well, nothing else. By putting the task at the center, just as Dorfman states, the presenter helps to quiet the self, pushing away their own qualities-their expectations, nerve and ego-and by doing such they can calmly and adeptly connect with the audience, their material, and deliver a masterful presentation every time.
My objective with this article after filming my first video for My You Tube channel is to lay down a listing of areas that need to be thought about, to be developed, and to ultimately work in sync with one another to produce a resource that can help others starting out in this arena. These online business ideas and other business resources are designed to stimulate your mind and to build on your previous skill sets for maximum production.
It is interesting to me as a therapist that the number one fear of Americans is Public Speaking. This fear is higher than even the fear of flying. All of our fears are founded in our life experience. The only two fears a baby is born with are the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Everything else we are afraid of in life is built on numerous experiences, more than likely early on in our life, as we develop into the ages of three to four years of age.
We all landed here exactly the same way, naked to the world and with a clean slate to draw on and our unique life experience continues to lay down pathways in the brain that ultimately make up who we are in every respect. Public speaking whether it is to a small group of ten or a huge group of two thousand still demands the same work on the front end to ensure that your message meets the expectations of your audience. From experience, I can tell you that it is a lot easier to speak to thousands versus a smaller group. This is because in the case of the larger group, you seldom see the audience because of the lighting necessary for the larger audience, where as with the smaller group; you literally looking at eyeballs staring right back at you.
I want this article to give you a comfort zone for the things that will impact your final outcome. If you are new to delivering presentations, these criteria will prepare you in advance and give you a roadmap to follow throughout the process.
The first and most basic of these criteria is to Be Yourself. You are a unique human specimen, having your own world that is uniquely different than anyone else. I am married to an identical twin and let me say the two women are very different in the way they think and react to life circumstances. That is because even though the two grew up together under the same roof, their friends in school, their treatment by their family and peers, their schooling and education, all added up to different scores and today even though they have similar DNA, they look slightly different and certainly exhibit completely different behaviors.
There is no secret to success, but there is one to failure – that’s trying to be all things to all people. You cannot be all things to all people and once this basic premise is understood, you will find your own audience, one that listens to what you have to say and respects you for what you have to share with the group. I even think that imperfect presentations by the speaker can be as dramatic as ones that are conducted by slick corporate types. You will learn over time what parts of your unique being appeal to others, which you will use to your advantage and also gradually start working on what didn’t come across as well as you thought. Look at delivering presentations as a growth process and build on the positive as well as the negative feedback that will change your next presentation.
For any speaker, whether they are an aspiring neophyte or a seasoned pro, these criteria are critical and will eliminate issues while you are speaking or filming. Preparation is critical if you are going to come away pleased with your work. This not only covers the actual words to be spoken, which are the reason people show up, but everything necessary to have a good venue, from location, parking, lighting, sound, and room layout. Do your homework diligently and never forget that Murphy is always around. I cannot tell you how many times even after careful review on everything mentioned above and more, did problems show up. It could be the bulb in your projector goes out, the cords for your laptop don’t match up to their sound system, and the lights in the room go out as a result of a fuse blowing. There are so many variables that have to be in sync for a great presentation. Just make sure that the ball is not dropped on the basic ones.
It is fearful enough to be unprepared, so why go through the pain? Make the time to thoroughly go through all the variables before you physically show up and find out that the one thing that you did not plan for actually happened.
Your audience is expecting certain information from your delivery. This is usually gathered from the title of the presentation and its summary. The next criteria, What is the Objective?, has to be specific and answer questions such as: Why are you there? Why were you enlisted for this meeting? The objective has to generate a specific path that can be helpful to the audience and fills in information they already have on the subject. The objective defines the message. If you are positioning how to sell affiliate programs to seniors, your objective has to be that direct, focusing specifically on the demographics for that specific group. If your objective does not meet its audience and its needs, the participants will be left confused and wondering if they even attended the right presentation. Make sure you state the objective up front so that the audience knows exactly where they stand on the subject to be presented and confirms at the end of the delivery if it met their expectations.
The next criteria for great results with all of your presentations is to Conduct Research on the audience attending. What demographics and psychographics make up this group? If it is a general audience, is your information going to be accepted equally by all? This is an extension of the previous criteria as preparation is the key to all successful presentations. The closer you can come to truly understanding your audience members, the more impact and success you will see. If it is group from a specific company, use the company’s resources to help you define what needs they have, so that your objective lays down the path you will use to get them from point A to point G. I always say you can never be too prepared. If you have done your homework up front, your audience will reward you by asking questions, adding comments and being interactive. Remember that sales is a game and once you know the rules of the game, your chances of being successful will sky rocket. The basic premise of sales is that buyers have “Problems” and sellers have “Solutions.” If the delivery was successful, the two will come together in agreement at the end and sale takes place. This is not to say that every presentation has to be sales driven, but never forget that we are all in sales, like it or not. If they don’t buy you, you are already out. People buy from people they like and they will like you if you have taken the time and effort to come across as one of them in your delivery.
The next criteria, Prepare All Visual Aids and Support Materials, is another key component of our criteria listing. You have to keep in mind that the attention span of most humans is relatively short and what they can and will remember from your presentation is limited by the length of the delivery. In presentations lasting under two hours, it is stated that you will only remember approximately fifteen to eighteen percent of the material covered. It drops even further on longer presentations, sometimes to where they walk away with around ten percent of what they heard and saw.
That is where POP, point of purchase materials, such as flyers, brochures, videos, and consumer information pieces make a huge difference. You can think that they will remember everything presented, but it is a fact that they will not, thus the need to send them home with additional information supporting the actual presentation’s message. If you are using Power Point as part of your delivery, make sure that you have not used too many slides. In making many presentations to venture groups, I will tell you that over seven slides and you actually bore them. Remember the KISS principle. Keep it Simple!
Support materials are designed to take the message home, where they can sift through the information at their leisure and make decisions on the subject matter. Be as organized as possible whenever the need is for support materials and any other element that supports the message. With the advent and current success of videos for marketing purposes online, and the great channel, You Tube, it is almost impossible to not be involved in this area. Step out of your Comfort Zone and become actively involved in using all technology to support your sales and marketing efforts online.
The last criteria on my list is to Review Your Benefit Statements and Customer Testimonials that will be used verbally or positioned throughout your presentation. Benefits sell what you are presenting as it transfers the product directly to the buyer. A key point of sales training is that we are working hard through our delivery to get the buyer to sell themselves. If we have positioned our benefits properly, gotten them involved both physically and emotionally, the end result will be just what we planned on.
Customer testimonials are great tool to reinforce key parts of your sales presentation, as these are actual people that have already joined the group, purchased products and love them, and in general support your message. They also align with certain members of the audience, leaving a strong imprint about the message and more than likely will have impact on their decision. It should be one of your business building skills to pull customer testimonials and to publicize them on your website, blog and even ads. Nothing will compete with a strong testimonial coming from a satisfied customer. Take advantage of this premise and use them whenever you can. You are removing yourself from the process and letting someone else help close for you.
Marketing changes constantly, evidenced by the popularity of video marketing which aligns well with the current trend Attraction Marketing, as people like seeing and hearing from others that have similar tastes, personalities, etc. We are in a business that demands that we are as up to date with technology as possible. Today with a Smart phone, we literally carry a computer around with us and from what the trends indicate, this practice will become heavier as time moves forward. This does not mean that we all will have to become “teckies”, but that the world is moving forward at a very fast pace and at the end of the day, we have to be on the same plane. Follow these simple criteria to ensure that your presentations are crisp, focused, and on target with your audiences.
James Hobart, an industry leader in the Professional Beauty Industry for more than 40 years at every level, has certification in hypnotherapy. His insight and experience have helped many companies and individuals with their growth and development over the years. His book, Happiness Is Your Birthright, supports his philosophy on life and is a practical handbook to create positive change throughout one’s life.