Presentation points

At a recent networking lunch I was cornered by a woman who asked me about how to make a presentation.

After I had sussed that she didn’t want to use Powerpoint and technology wasn’t an option, I decided to go for the more simple approach.

First, fully research the customer. What I mean is, find out their ‘pain’, what is missing in their company and what is needed to improve it. Does your business offer a solution to their needs? What can you give them that will relieve their ‘pain’, fill in the missing gaps and benefit their company?

Next, how would you deliver these solutions? Hone them down to about five or so specific benefits (not features, there is a difference) and explore them thoroughly to make them fool proof. Develop each concept or idea to introduce them separately to aid comprehension.

Make up a presentation pack consisting of a laminated cover with your logo, contact details and title of the presentation on the front, using your corporate colours. Each subject of your pitch should be presented on separate pages, using clear imagery, graphics, flow-charts, pictures, examples or whatever is necessary. Each page should be either encased in plastic or printed on high quality paper/card to give it a professional feel. Compile a version that you can leave with your audience so they can show their colleagues and discuss it later.

When delivering your pitch, consider that the listener has to digest what you are saying. They will need time for the concepts to sink in, so speaking slowly is essential. This means that you don’t have to dumb it down, simply leave a small gap between the introduction of a new idea, and then explain it in another way to drive the point home. The visual impact of your presentation pack will also aid your explanation.

Allow an opportunity for questions. If you’re clever, you’ll have thought up what questions they might ask in advance, and have prepared answers. If not, careful thinking on your feet, again taking your time, will be easy if you’ve done your research properly.

Again, I want to stress how important it is to unclutter your presentation. Clear, simple pages employing one point at a time is so much easier to understand. Avoid clever graphics, confusing backgrounds, conflicting colour schemes and multiple fonts – simplicity is the key here. Putting your logo sympathetically on each page with your strapline (if you have one) can be a good idea, as long as it doesn’t swamp the content. And pay attention to the copy – check your grammar, spelling, vocabulary and syntax to maintain professionalism. And get more than one person to proof read it – preferably someone not involved – to iron out any mistakes.

Alice

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