From the “Book of Lists” speaking before a group is the number one fear among Americans. I can change that to “speaking before anyone for business purposes is one of the most critical parts of growing a successful business.” No matter if it’s a presentation to one person (a business call) or speaking before two or more people, you are making a presentation, speaking before a group. There is a natural born apprehension in each of us when we have to make a presentation.
The following are several parts of a presentation that I feel must be present”:
- The first impression often sets the stage for everything that follows. Be confident and look your audience in the eye.
- Demonstrate your preparation in the first minute. Convey the message that you know your business/industry. Even your preparation time for this meeting/presentation can be mentioned.
- Believe in yourself and that you are the best person, at this time, to talk about your topic.
- Don’t start off by telling your audience that you are nervous.
- Be yourself! People can tell and they like people who are genuine.
- Have a prepared presentation, but don’t try to share everything you know at one meeting. I recommend having two to three major points that you want to cover. Once interest is generated, future meetings will happen.
- Even a small sales presentation deserves a practice session. Rehearse your presentation in front of a spouse, friend, support group, etc.
- Involve your audience (even if it’s a one-on-one presentation). Strategic questions, perhaps a question on the benefits you offer which you know your target needs; ask a proactive question; share an interesting statistic; or share a personal story that relates to your subject.
- Be mindful of time. Your goal is to “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them.”
- If possible, incorporate visual support in the forms of charts, power point, etc. I don’t recommend a presentation made only on a computer screen or projected on a screen. Part of the presentation has to have eye contact.
- Most people that listen to a presentation want to know “What’s in it for me?” Make sure that that questions are answered.
- Ask if there are any questions.
- In many presentations (sales calls), a close does not occur on the first visit. Make sure that you leave behind material which emphasizes your presentation.
- Don’t leave without having a definite re-visit date and time.
Standing in front of a prospect is the single most powerful marketing opportunity available.
Nick J. Petra CFP subscribe to these daily marketing & management tips at www.onebizcentral.com