Business Presentations

This page has tips on how to give successful business presentations.

Planning is key

People's time and the company's reputation are precious, so impressing your public is important. Planning is the key.

Public speaking is the ideal way to promote your product or service.

Most of us understand that word of mouth gets the word out faster than anything else. You talk to your clients and customers about your business, so why not increase your effectiveness by speaking to a greater audience is interested in your product or service?

By all means decide to hold a presentation, but it can be done successfully or so-so. If you do a good job with your presentation you will be amazed at the results for your business, not to mention your reputation as a presenter.

Gentle persuasion works best

When planning a presentation to promote your business, product or services steer away from a sales pitch:

A sales pitch focuses on you, your product and/or service and builds weight for a sale, catching your audience unaware and pressuring them into buying something they may not want. It risks sounding like an advertisement;

A promotional speech looks at information. You are not there to compare one product over another. A promotional speech allows the audience generally takes something away with them - a message, a handout, an invitation to discuss the items further. It whets their appetite but allows them to decide whether they want your product.

A few ideas for your next promotional presentation follow.

Find a suitable venue

This will depend on your audience type and how specific it is, eg a sports team, senior citizens, children, young adults, writers or a technical group. Carefully deciding on your venue will help your audience feel more comfortable and enable them to relax immediately:

  • Check for heating, air conditioning, comfortable seating, lighting, sound and facilities
  • Do this early so you have plenty of time to correct any imperfections;
  • Arrive early on the day so you can check everything is 'right on the night'.

Publicise your date

Set the date. Make sure you have:

  • Invited special guests and associates;
  • Advised the newspapers;
  • Posted notices in places where people tend to congregate (even if it is round the water cooler), radio, television and your website.

Remember word of mouth is the greatest form in getting the word out there, so talk about it at every opportunity.

Find out what they already know

You will lose your audience very quickly if you try and reinvent the wheel:

  • It is prudent to establish what they already know. For example, If your audience are senior citizens remember they have been around a while and seen plenty;
  • Doing your homework really does pay dividends.

Create your speech with a purpose in mind

Think about what you are going to offer to the audience - this is your big chance. Think about the approach you going to take and fashion your presentation accordingly. Audiences like to be informed, educated, motivated, inspired or entertained:

  • Decide how you are going to win them over;
  • Sprinkle anecdotes through your presentation and use humour maintains attention;
  • Prepare overheads, PowerPoint, white board material or whatever you decide to use, well ahead of time;
  • Don't forget handout material;
  • Detail contact numbers so they have no excuse of being unable to contact you;
  • Prepare carefully and thoroughly, then rehearse to fine tune it.

As notable writer Marie Stuttard advises, 'A speech is more than a means of getting information across, it has to capture the imagination, reinforce its message, and constantly keep the audience on its toes? and it does this with a skilful blend of voice, facial expression, gesture and body language'.

Evaluation Sheets

It's the little things that count. You put a lot of work into your presentation and it is a real pity if the little things get left out. Feedback is vital and will go some way to correcting any minor faults. The best way to gain insight into the good and not so good aspects of your presentation is to leave evaluation sheets for everyone to complete. Not everyone enjoys offering feedback, they may feel it impolite to critique, so maybe you could:

  • Announce how important it is;
  • Perhaps offer some little reward for doing so.

Finally
Look good, be confident, plan ahead, plan well and prepare down to the last detail. Enjoy the experience and look forward to the dividends - you deserve them.

Remember - 'If you fail to plan, you plan to fail'.