As sales professionals, we’re called upon to give presentations from time to time. Here are six tips to help you present like a pro:
- Know your content inside and out. If you are under-rehearsed, you will be nervous (and your audience will likely be able to tell).
- Make it clear why you're there. You may even start your presentation with “I'm here because…” While I prefer to open with something a little more poetic, say whatever you have to say to make it clear why you’re there. Why is this important? In many cases, people just get called into meetings by their bosses without actually knowing what the agenda is going to be. It’s very helpful to spend the first minute or so letting them know what’s coming so they know what to listen for.
- Get to the point quickly. Audiences are selfish. There’s this little jingle that plays over and over in their minds: “WAMWIG.” It stands for, “What about me, what do I get?” If you don’t get to that answer quickly enough, your audience will grow increasingly impatient. Some people may tune you out altogether.
- Ask questions and encourage audience participation. It’s easy to lose the attention of your audience. When you ask a question, you bring the audience into the discussion and they’re less likely to tune out.
- Don’t go over your allotted time. There’s nothing worse than getting cut off or rushing through the last few minutes of your presentation. How do you ensure that this won’t happen? Make fewer slides than you would typically, and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
- Always leave time for questions and answers. Even if you did a good job of preemptively addressing the most likely questions and concerns, you need to leave plenty of time for Q&A. It affords the opportunity to take the audience’s temperature… Did they receive the message you aimed to send? Do you detect any potential resistance that might stymie forward progress? Ideally, you can neutralize that resistance before leaving the room. That final interaction with your audience may be the most important time you spend in the room.
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