Making the most of your presentation and pitch opportunity
If you have a presentation coming up you will want to make the most of the opportunity that it offers.
So here are some tips to help you deliver an engaging, confident, knowledgeable and competent presentation that will win you business.
Next time you attend an event with multiple presenters check how many of those speakers start with an apology, usually something about their voice, the cold they have just been struck down with etc… and then check how many make a tottering start by rambling on about nothing in particular or decide its a good idea to tell a joke or those who spend the first minute or so of their presentation checking everyone can hear them and working out the clicker works.
If you want to deliver a really good engaging presentation then don’t do any of the above!
Instead go straight in with a dramatic, bold statement or image that will immediately get the attention of your audience – “Did you know 64% of people living in this city don’t ….”
After the big start immediately follow up with your promise which is essentially what you are going to deliver to the audience during your presentation and why they should be interested in giving it and you their full attention.
“Ladies and Gentlemen over the next 15 minutes I’m going to show you three ways in which you can attract more customers to your business”.
Keep slides and words on slides to a minimum
I feel like I’m now on some sort of personal crusade to encourage all presenters to be ruthless editors when it comes to the use of slides. I just can’t see the point of filling a slide with words, words that most people in the audience may not be able to read because they are too far away from the screen.
If they can read the words they will do so rather than listening or looking at you.
And there is a temptation for you as the presenter to also start reading the words!
Slides should be seen as a prompt for your audience not a script for yourself.
Every slide and every image and every word on those slides has to earn its right to be part of your presentation. Be ruthless. If a word or image or slide is not needed then drop it from the presentation.
If you are going to use slides my advice is start each slide with one word on it and then add more words if you really need to. This neatly leads me into my next tip:
Look at your audience
Try wherever possible to keep your eyes on your audience and not on the screen. Many presenters have a this natural tendency to keep looking at the screen even though their slide hasn’t changed and then they end up talking to the screen and not the audience. Eye contact with your audience will help you engage with them. What’s the point of you engaging with the screen!
Use your best presenter
If your presentation is a pitch to win business then you need to use the best presenter at your disposal. Usually that will be someone from within your company, but it might not be the person with the highest ranking job title.
More than one of you presenting
If your presentation involves more than one presenter then it’s really important that you have a clear understanding as to who is doing what, otherwise you can give the audience the impression that you are not a particularly organised company and that your people don’t work together very well.
My advice is that if you have two people on the presentation that one of them focuses on the introduction, the opening, the summary and handling the questions whilst the other person delivers the core messages and the detailed content within those messages.
If you have three people involved in the presentation I would stick to the same structure as above but share the key messages between two of the presenters.
And finally regardless of how experienced you are as a presenter or how easy you think it will be to deliver the presentation or win the pitch you need to set aside plenty of time for Preparation and Practice
When I work with individuals and companies helping them deliver really great presentations I bang on about just how important Preparation and Practice are.
So much so that they top and tail my 8P’s of presenting model which covers:
Preparation, Purpose, People, Promise, Plan, PowerPoint, Performance, Practice.
If you would like to enhance the presentation skills or you or your company in readiness for your presentations and pitches in 2018 I would be delighted to help.
Call me on 07785 390717 or email me via firstname.lastname@example.org