If you are in the business of pitching new ideas, products or services, you’ve probably found yourself in a scenario where the fate of the deal you have been working on was determined by how well you presented key information and concepts to decision makers and executive leadership. These are the types of presentations that can make or break a proposal, situations in which charisma, character, content and style all work together to guarantee a successful outcome. However, in these moments, careless blunders or a general lack of preparation can dismantle what may have looked like a “done deal”. Therefore, it is essential that professionals take the time necessary to fully understand how they should prepare for such meetings and how they should present the content they are bringing for display.
Brevity is a Virtue
Keep in mind that the decision makers and executive leadership often present at such meetings are also confronting a myriad of other pressing issues on a daily basis. Therefore, it is essential that presentations be kept as brief as possible, not only to avoid redundancy and boredom, but also as a sign of respect for those who have granted you an audience. Comb through the content you are planning on presenting, looking for any fragments or ideas that may be “supplementary” as opposed to “essential”. If you deduce that this material is not absolutely necessary for comprehension of the topic, remove it. The tighter your presentation is, the more likely you will be to leave a positive impression on those you are presenting to.
Overviews are Invaluable
Providing your audience with a “roadmap” prior to the beginning of your presentation can accomplish two primary goals. Firstly, it will ensure that those viewing the presentation are prepared for the flow of the content. If abrupt topic changes will occur, they can be fully prepared and will be able to remain engaged and present. Secondly, overviews provide audiences with a general idea of when they will be able to begin asking questions. This second point is quite important, as it can be unsettling for both the presenter and the audience if both parties are unsure when the appropriate moment for conversation and “Q & A’s” should be. Think of the overview as a tool which you can use to establish a professional and comfortable atmosphere prior to beginning your presentation.
Respond to Prompts Immediately
If those you are presenting to had previously asked you to bring a specific piece of information or content to the current meeting, make sure you address their requests before moving on to other material you had prepared. Not only is this a mark of respect, but it will also help convince them that you are making their needs a priority. There is no better way to frustrate or repel an audience then by forgetting or ignoring their requests or specific needs.
Practice, Practice, Practice
A successful presentation will, undoubtedly, require hours of rehearsal. However, these rehearsals involve more than just reciting lines. In fact, your rehearsal period is an excellent opportunity to examine the flow of your presentation materials, such as Powerpoint slides, etc., in order to ensure that the overall impression is as you would like it. If, after viewing your presentation, you realize that your supplementary materials are lacking in quality, consider purchasing a professional template for your slides, such as the Pitch Deck Template. Once you have streamlined your logistics and ironed out any potential presentation pitfalls, your chances of leaving a positive impression on your audience will increase exponentially.
Yes, these suggestions could be interpreted as somewhat broad, but perhaps therein lies their virtue. No matter where you may be in your presentation planning, you can use these strategies to refine and optimize your current skillset. Hopefully, the day will come when you can put these strategies to good use for your own professional interests.