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Presentation coming up? Make sure you know the equipment!

First rule of using equipment when presenting?

Check it beforehand – and ideally not on the day – so you know what you’re working with in terms of screens, projectors, laptops, clickers, microphones etc…

I was at an event recently with about 130 others.

The screen was pretty large but even so it was not one that was easily seen by most of the room. The speaker then suddenly discovered to her horror that not only was the glorious sunshine affecting the screen but the words on the slides weren’t visible.

It was clearly one of those cases where they looked great on her laptop but obviously didn’t work on the big screen in a sun filled room. Credit to her that she carried on irrespective that no one could see her slides but it did become a wasted opportunity.

Watch out also for overhead projectors.  

At one event I attended earlier in the year the main speaker managed to continually stand in a position so that the light beam was hitting him on top of his head and therefore not only reflecting his shadow on the screen but also lighting up his head! He had no idea this was going on. Check where the beam will be and thus where not to stand!

If there is a microphone available then use it. Most people who think they don’t need a mic actually do.

Check in advance how your slides will move forward. You don’t want to be fiddling around with the clicker when you are supposed to be delivering an attention grabbing opening.

In terms of low tech kit I always have a few postcard size notes with me with just a few headings on just in case I lose my place when I’m presenting.

They provide a confidence boosting safety net and and also give me something to hold in one of my hands. I was at the event recently where the no doubt highly paid guest speaker decided to go noteless but his backup was a series of A4 size scribbled sheets. He lost his place a few times towards the end of his presentation and he kept looking down onto a table and flicking through his A4 notes to try and find where he was. It wasn’t very impressive.

Similarly I witnessed someone who started off with postcard sized notes in their hand but then halfway through for some reason put them on a table at the side. What had started as a really good engaging presentation suddenly became very disorganised as she lost eye contact with the audience in trying to read the notes over her shoulder.

Finally if you are going to use slides don’t fill every last square inch on the screen with either a word or logo or some branding etc.. One of the common problems with presentations is that the presenters insist on filling the screen with tons of words or complex diagrams or lots of images on the same slide.

Inevitably presenters then spend most of their time looking at the screen and pretty much reading what is on it. Minimise the content on the slides – it will be much more impactful.

Remember the screen is there is a prompt for your audience not a script for yourself. 

Of course the best way to not have to worry about equipment is to ditch the slides. More on that in my next blog.

Thanks for reading and please feel free to share.


5 top tips to help you gain sales

If you are in business you are sales, simply because without sales you have no revenue and no revenue means no business. To help you achieve more revenues here are 5 top sales tips:

1. Wetsuit or T-Shirt – how easy is it to buy your products or services?

Is it as easy as putting on a t-shirt or is it as tricky as trying to get into a wetsuit?’  To discover if you are a t-shirt or a wetsuit company try buying from your own company via all the channels your products or services are available.  You may be surprised by how many ‘barriers’ there are that will potentially prevent people buying from you. In an era where ‘selling’ is increasingly about making it easy for people to buy you need to identify those barriers quickly and find ways to remove them.

2. Be seen as an expert

If you are recognised as an expert in your field you will attract more enquiries. Promote and share your expertise through articles, posts, newsletters, video, speaking and networking.

3. Be ready to respond

It is reckoned that around 70% of buying decisions are made before any direct contact is had with the potential supplier. If your phone rings or an email arrives or you receive a direct message via social media or someone walks in through the door you need to be ready to respond quickly.

We live in a world of high expectations and that includes speed of response. Make sure you respond quickly to all inquiries – even if that means a holding response ‘Sorry I can’t take your call / answer your email but I will get back to you….’ Other top tips : Check how long your phone rings for before it jumps to your voicemail and check what your voicemail message is as well as your ‘out of office’ email message.

4. Offer Alternatives

If your proposal to a potential customer has only one option it’s very easy for them to say no to it. And where does that leave you? On the basis that your potential customers prefer to buy rather than be sold to offer them more than one option when presenting your proposal. Three alternatives offers a choice and significantly increases your chance of gaining an order. The three can be similar but with variations which could be based on a number of factors including quantities, timings, price levels, level of back up service, etc…    Try it – it does work.

5.  Know when to press the Mute button

The vast majority of us like buying but we don’t like been sold to. Therefore salespeople who just talk are the ones we are likely to be put off by. Today’s best salespeople ask really good questions, listen to the answers and then steer the customer towards the product or service best suited to their particular needs, via three alternatives within their proposal.

And then they know to press the Mute button.

They know when to shut up!

Most ‘salespeople’ find it hard not to speak and have an uncontrollable desire once a silence occurs to break it. Don’t do it!

Interrupting is also a sales preventer. Let the buyer do the talking. Then ask for the order. Then don’t speak!. Give the buyer time to think and respond. It’s not easy to do (being on mute) but it will be worth it.

Need some sales energy and momentum?

If your sales effort or sales team needs re-energising please get in touch with me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or email me via

I will create sales momentum for your company through my highly interactive ‘Sell More’ workshops, as well as through speaking at or being involved with your sales meetings or business conferences.

Do your presentations win or lose you business?

Presentations are a great opportunity to win new customers, grow business from existing ones, raise your profile, inspire your colleagues and gain investment.

They are also an opportunity to lose business and lower your profile.

So why do presentations go wrong? It’s usually for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Not enough time was spent preparing
  • No thought was given to what the audience wanted to hear
  • The presenter spent too much time on trivial stuff at the start – and tried to be funny
  • There were too many slides
  • Containing too many words
  • Trying to get over too many messages
  • ​The presentation went over on time and people got bored

Some of the excuses I’ve heard for defending what was clearly a poor presentation include:

I was only told about this last night.

In the car on the way here it was under 3 minutes (for a 3 minute presentation that on the day took 8).

How was I to know the screen would be that small. 

My spouse /partner said my opening joke was really funny.

No one told me the audience was expecting only 5 minutes.

I should have had ‘clicker’ lessons.

Most presenters usually know quite well in advance that a presentation opportunity is coming up. So there is no excuse for a poor presentation.

Ok you are nervous but so to a degree are even the most experienced presenters.

Which is why the best presenters prepare throughly and practise hard. They check the venue and equipment in advance, they find out who will be in the audience, they understand that they need a powerful attention grabbing opening and that slides should be minimal with few words. They are ruthless editors when it comes to using Powerpoint.

They know that three is the most key messages the audience will absorb so they plan carefully what those three are.

They understand how important having a good, concise summary and finish is.

They carry prompt cards just in case they lose their place – no scrambling through sheets of A4 for top presenters.

And then they rehearse. And time those rehearsals. And rehearse again. Not enough to be word perfect but enough to not mess it up.

Good luck with your next presentation, although if you prepare well and practise the luck factor is not that important.

If you need help presenting let me know.

5 things we learnt about pitching from a recent episode of ‘The Apprentice’

1. Don’t waste time at the beginning:

The project manager of the losing team began their presentation talking about things that the audience already knew, telling stories about GB’s Olympic success and the cycling market generally. In any pitch or presentation you need to start with something that immediately captures and engages your audience and that usually means telling them something they don’t already know. The presenter also turned the audience off by saying ‘I know you think this is just waffle’.

2. Engage with your audience:

The winning team used humour and personality to immediately engage at the beginning of their pitch with their audience. This strong start ultimately enabled them to gain the two orders which made the difference to winning and losing. The successful team had their most charismatic presenter on first and that proved to be a winning tactic..

3. Know who is going to be saying what:

It’s never easy doing a pitch or presentation when there are more than one of you involved. In those situations it is vital that you all know exactly who’s going to be saying what and when. The losing team were expecting their second speaker to cover pricing which he failed to do so leaving the third speaker caught on the hop having to deal with this important part of the presentation. if you present in pairs or three’s then make sure you have enough time to prepare and practice so you clearly know what each other is going to be saying.

4. Know your numbers and think like your audience:

In any sales pitch prices and incentives to buy will form a key part in your audience making a decision about placing an order with you. Last night’s losing team completely misunderstood the buying expectation of those that could have placed big orders with them by offering them the same discount as they offered to those who would in reality only place small orders with them. The potential large buyer put them on the spot about this and they failed to deal successfully with it simply because they hadn’t anticipated his reaction. In any pitch or presentation always put yourselves in the shoes of the audience and think how you would react to the presentation and what questions you would ask.

5. Finish strongly:

No matter how long your pitch or presentation is you need to have a strong finish as it is the last thing your audience hear from you before making a decision about whether to buy from you. The team that did win were fortunate that they’d had a very strong start because their finish was particularly poor when they focused on a social media campaign which no one understood instead of reminding the audience of the key benefits of their product and inviting them to place orders with them.

If you have an important pitch or presentation to make I can help you ensure that you make the most of that opportunity. Simply give me a call on 07785 390717 or drop me an email to

I work with company’s as well as individuals, with each session designed to match you or your company’s presenting needs.

Presenting is an increasingly invaluable business skill so make sure you are the best presenter in your sector and use presenting to help you stand out and win business.

Practise your presentation like a music piece

I recently had the pleasure of being allowed to observe at close quarters a brass band who were rehearsing a test piece prior to the UK national championships which are taking place at the Royal Albert Hall this weekend.

The piece was 18 minutes long yet not once during the two hour session did they play it from start to finish, and this was the fourth such rehearsal.

Instead the conductor focused on individual segments with more often than not only certain sections of the thirty strong band playing.

This made me think about rehearsing a presentation.

Firstly most people don’t practice their presentations enough, if at all, and secondly I imagine most practice the whole thing straight through.

So here’s a suggestion. Break your presentation down into three key sections – the Opening, the Core or Key Messages and the Summary or Finish.

Work on each section when you practice, particularly with regard to the opening.

Why do this?

Firstly the opening of a presentation is crucial to gaining the attention of your audience. It is also the time when most presenters feel most nervous. Nail the opening 30 seconds and you will relax and any nerves will dissipate as you move onto the core or middle part.

The core part will usually take up around 75% of your allocated time and provide the detail, the key points, the explanation. This is the bit where you are sharing ideas, your expertise and knowledge so it’s usually the bit most presenters feel most comfortable with, so in a sense it needs the least practice. It is also the part of the presentation where presenters overrun on time. They relax into the presentation, begin to enjoy it and start adding to their content which results in an overrun on time.

Which in turn means they often run out of time for the final section, the finish or summary. I’ve seen countless presenters suddenly announce that they have overrun or having been advised through a series of signals from the organiser (usually the good old tapping on the watch signal) they literally stop. A quick thank you and off they go.

The summary is the last thing your audience hear from you so it’s your chance to remind them of why they should be interested in your product or service and to tell them what you would like them to do next, so it’s vital you don’t miss this bit out and it’s important you know what you’re going to say.

Many presenters fail to practice their summary even if they practice everything else.

So practice like a brass band and break your presentation in chunks – the start, the middle and the finish allocating your practice equally to all three.

Then pull it all together for a couple of full run throughs. You’ll find this a much more effective way of rehearsing and it will ensure you have a great start and really good finish.

Good luck with your next presentation and good luck to the Tongwynlais Band who’s rehearsal inspired this article.

If you would like help with your presentations please give me, Trevor Lee, a call on 07785 390717 or email me via

I work with company’s as well as individuals, with each session designed to match you or your company’s presenting needs.

Presenting is an increasingly invaluable business skill so make sure you are the best presenter in your sector and use presenting to help you stand out and win business.

How often is your marketing activity reviewed?

Your marketing activity review – Monthly, Quarterly, Annually or Never?

For most businesses who don’t have dedicated high level marketing resource the answer is usually never.

Which means the ads run, the website functions, sponsorships continue, the newsletter goes out, someone does some occasional tweeting and facebooking, the leaflets and flyers get re-printed, but potentially without any real consideration as to what the real purpose of all your marketing activity is.

A robust review should ideally happen once a quarter with the following questions being asked:

1. Where is our marketing money being spent?

2. Are our marketing messages consistent across all the mediums we use?

3. Do we know which marketing is generating enquires / responses / leads?

4. Does our marketing reflect our company?

5. Are we buying marketing because we think it’s ‘a good price’ or because it is reaching our customers and potential buyers?

6. Are we getting the best deals from the marketing we are buying?

7. Based on where we want to be as a company what changes to our marketing do we need to make to help us get to where we are going?

The key ultimately to marketing success is having the right message reach the right people at the right time, and not just every so often but all of the time.

A regular quarterly marketing review will help save you time and money by identifying marketing activities that are working / not working and as such those that need either eliminating or reducing and those that need starting or increasing.

If you think this is a good idea I can help you kick start it by facilitating your first quarterly review and on the back of it I’ll create for you, if you haven’t got one, a simple 4-5 page marketing plan which acts as a reminder of what you decided you should be doing when it comes to marketing.

I’ll also come back six weeks after the review to see how you’re doing and help you prepare for the next review which you should be able to do for yourself.

To book your Marketing Review and Plan and take the first steps to getting more from your marketing simply call me, Trevor Lee, on 07785 390717 or email me via

The most important 30 seconds of your presentation

Yes you guessed it, its the first 30 seconds – here are some do’s and don’ts for starting presentations.

As it becomes increasingly difficult for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors a presentation at a business event offers a fantastic opportunity to help you and your company stand out.

Many presenters though overlook that the most important 30 seconds of their presentation is the first 30 seconds.

During those first 30 seconds the audience are already deciding if they could work with you and your company.

As demonstrated at the Olympics a strong start is vital to success.

So make sure your first 30 seconds are well planned, well rehearsed and immediately captures the imagination and attention of your audience.

To help you here are some do’s and don’ts for those first 30 seconds.

I start with the don’ts as they are the ones you will see most often.

To read the article please click here The first 30 seconds of your presentation

Can regional media sell more local advertising?

I think it can and here are six ideas to make it happen even though hardly a week goes by without a newspaper group or company reporting significant declines in advertising revenues, especially in print.

And it’s a competitive world. There seems no end to those keen to secure advertising spend from local businesses whether it be highly targeted magazines, leaflets, sponsorship, digital screens, commercial and community radio, poster sites, cinema, transport, and of course the ad platforms run by the digital giants : Google ad words, Facebook ads, Instagram and Twitter ads etc…

For the local business who doesn’t have an advertising expert it can be a daunting experience being bombarded with calls and emails from would be ad sellers, many of whom have a ‘fantastic offer’ that is ‘just right for their business’.

So how can ‘traditional’ regional media companies differentiate themselves from all other players and re-establish themselves as the turn to place for local advertisers?

For six ideas to help regional media sell more ads  please click here : Can regional media sell more local advertising?

Prepare well if you want to deliver a great presentation

Presentation preparation is key to delivering a great presentation. How many times have you seen a presenter in action at a business event or during a sales pitch and it’s clearly obvious that hey haven’t done their preparation. They stumble around at the beginning, they have A4 sized notes or they read off the screen, they look surprised by what’s on the next slide. All the tell take signs of a lack of preparation as a member of the audience I’v given up my time for this so I’m not impressed.

So here are some ideas and tips to help you prepare well for your next presentation: Prepare well if you want to deliver a great presentation