It doesn’t matter what you call it: an elevator pitch; business presentation; company introduction – if you are telling other people about yourself or your business you’re making a presentation. And that, in turn, is another way of saying that you’re offering a gift. Will others want it? This is where it gets tricky.
We quite often use this metaphor of gift-giving as a way of implying punishment. “I’ll give him what for.” “I’ll give her a piece of my mind.” “I’ll give him h*ll.” “She’ll get a real dressing down.” “Now he’s in for it.” “She’s asking for trouble.”
So how can we ensure that the gift of ourselves is well received instead?
The first step is to make every effort to find out what your audience wants. Politicians seem to have long ago given up on principle: instead they find out what the voters want and do their best to give it to them. So, too, should you find out what your potential clients want. Don’t tell them what you can do in your terms but in theirs. So ” We’re a training organisation” becomes “Our goal is to help you achieve organisational excellence by getting the best out of your biggest asset, your staff.” You can fillet your potential information set into multiple smaller sets, each best suited to a specific audience. So plan what you’re going to talk about.
Now prepare it in detail. Make sure you’re talking their language – using the terminology and images that matter to them and their way of business. No matter how appealing you find Rover, there’s no good raving about dogs if your clients want cats. Where you can, support your opinions with facts: hard figures or other people’s recommendations. Prepare your materials; your visual aids – it’s much easier to see or better to touch a product – than to have to visualise it from words – yourself and your environment. Check out whether you can be seen and heard from all around the room.
Finally, practise what you’ve planned and prepared. This doesn’t mean you have to memorise a set script: far better to know your topic well enough that you can improvise, but you’ll probably find it helpful to create reminders in the shape of .ppt slides or equivalents. Make sure you’ve practised using your technology so that it doesn’t phase you and that you have a backup strategy for when all else fails.
Now you should be ready to relax. Whatever nerves are left will keep you on your toes and maybe provide that sparkle of energy that can be so contagious that your listeners want to hear more. Don’t be frightened of boring them. Instead, remember that you are offering them solutions to problems they may be finding inscrutable. You’ve thought about those problems and worked out solutions.
You’re not just presenting yourself you’re presenting them with the ways in which working with you is going to make their lives better.
If you want a little more help then:
- If you’re Merseyside-based ring us on 0151 285 3656 to arrange a free 1-hour review of any upcoming presentation you are working on. Quote WPMarch17.
- Go to Amazon to download our coursebook. At just 99p it’s a snip.