If you’re like us, chances are you’re making presentations to existing or potential customers on a regular basis. We’ve all sat through painfully long and boring presentations, but once in a while someone manages to catch your attention at the beginning and hold it througout the meeting. Here are some tips for making strong presentations that get results.
Consider Your Environment
There’s a big difference between in-person meetings and web-based presentations. If everyone is in the same room, it’s easy to read your audience to see if they are engaged and understand the points you’re making. But now that travel budgets have been slashed, more and more meetings happen online, via tools like GoToMeeting or Webex. These tools allow you to share your presentation with other participants over the Web, and talk in real time via conference call. Just be sure you’re having a dialogue with your audience, not talking at them; otherwise you’ll have no idea if they’re listening or checking their Facebook page.
PowerPoint is an amazing tool, and is endlessly customizable. So take the time to create a template for your company that reflects your brand image. Companies like Xerox offer free PowerPoint templates that can be a starting point for further customization. Take care not to cram too much content onto each slide; make sure your slide title communicates the main point and aim to have no more than 6 bullets per slide. Give the eye a place to rest by adding attractive graphics. End with a call to action – what do you want your prospects to do, and in what timeframe?
Respect your clients by leaving time for questions and answers at the end of the session. You don’t want to present your last slide and miss the opportunity to close a deal as they rush off for the next meeting. Before the meeting, generate a list of questions you might be asked and prepare answers (even preparing additional to illustrate your point). Finally, schedule the next steps and leave them with a copy of your presentation and of course, your business card.