It’s common knowledge that a killer presentation will win you that big sale, get your boss to acknowledge your existence and give you ‘Big Kahuna’ status in the office …..well, at least for all of five minutes!
The fancy charts and statistics will take you only so far. What clinches a deal is making the right sort of impression and keeping your audience’s attention till the bitter end. Easier said than done you say? Perhaps, but taking on the simple suggestions offered and avoiding the ‘No-No’s’ outlined below may just give you that winning edge. Good luck!
So, you’re gearing up for your next sales pitch? Here are a few suggestions you might want to incorporate into your routine.
- Smile. a smile is contagious and disarming. You’ll feel good and that’ll reflect on your presentation.
- Keep it real. share a story, a funny anecdote, a little joke to get things moving along on a genial note.
- Don’t be afraid to get passionate while making a point. For your audience to believe in what you’re selling, you better believe in it yourself.
- Keep your speech uncluttered and clear. Be yourself by all means but, avoid using favorite words or phrases too often. Things such as, ‘as I was saying,’ ‘if you know what I mean,’ ‘like,’ ‘really’ ….you get the drift.
- Maintain eye contact. Never turn your back to your audience and talk to the screen. You want to be talking ‘to’ them, not lecturing ‘at’ them.
- Keep the flow going. Having a smooth transition pattern between points, not only shows that you are prepared but makes for a more enjoyable listening experience.
- Introduce and exit each of your slides gracefully. Abrupt beginnings and endings give an air of being unsure. Confidence lost is hard to regain.
Being a creature of habit, you’ve probably developed some nasty habits over the years (like the rest of us). The good news is you’re not alone. The bad news, you’ve struck out one too many times already. Let’s see if we can help you step up your game.
- Avoid beating around the bush. Muster up the courage to say it like it is. ‘We are currently in the red however, we’ve consecutively met with monthly targets….’
- Avoid speaking in the first person. like the narrator of a story, become the voice of your product/service. Sell ‘it’ and not ‘yourself.’ The minute you say ‘I,’ you direct the focus on to yourself.
- Don’t delay and stretch out a point with unnecessary conjunctions such as ‘well’ and ‘but.’ Say what you have to say without dilly dallying. You’ll win instant brownie points with your audience. Remember, no matter how fascinating your presentation, the shorter route is always the preferred choice.
- Don’t be repetitive, it gets boring fast. Make your point and move on to the next.
- Short and Sweet. Lengthy explanations or difficult-to -understand material can be hugely boring and have a detrimental effect. Remember that you are talking to adults not toddlers. You’re job is to make your delivery as engaging as possible.
- Never apologize. Act confident even if you feel like your insides are melting. Your audience will be more likely to take a confident and smiling individual seriously than a fumbling, nervous wreck. Saying ‘I’m sorry’ or making self deprecating jokes (hoping to provoke sympathy or empathy) is in poor taste. This tactic shows weakness and a lack of confidence.
- Think of the big picture. If you feel like you’re short on time or you’ve failed to mention a point, don’t let on and certainly, Do Not interrupt your flow. Keep going and wrap things up naturally. As the saying goes, ‘don’t sweat the small stuff.’ Your audience will appreciate a smooth, coherent, unapologetic presentation.
- Finish your presentation as you began. We put so much emphasis starting off with a bang that often, we end on a flat note. Keep your ending memorable.
Let’s face it, good looks and charm will get you only so far. To really engage and grab your audience’s attention, you will have to re-evaluate old presentation techniques and be bold enough to incorporate new, better ones. Nobody wants to listen to a robot. Give them all the facts by all means, but stay personable.