Friday, 20 July 2012

Your next presentation

Your next presentation
When you start preparing for your next presentation, take a step back and get a feel for what is at stake and the potential business to be gained. This should give an indication of the time needed to prepare and the level the presentation is aimed. One presentation very rarely fits all levels of management, with regard to information required.

If the direct consequence of a presentation is going to be worth millions to an organisation then quality time needs to be created to get the key message, presentation and delivery absolutely perfect. If you don’t your competitors will.

So are you ready to beat your competitors?

Your key message.
Be clear in the one key message (you do know your one key message don’t you?) you need to convey to win the contract – this could be quality, delivery, price, support or technical specification. Ground work prior to the design of the presentation should give an indication to criteria especially if a written proposal is included as part of a tendering process. 

You the presenter.
Know that as the presenter you have the ability to bring the audience with you so they adopt the key message. This includes learning body language, presentation techniques and a level of styling that will allow you to gain credibility and justify your position in the presentation.  A nervous presenter can wreck even the best deck of a crafted presentation.

Presenters suffer from nerves. The key is how each presenter controls those nerves allowing a hesitant free performance. Learn to create positive anchors that can be turned on instantly by performing a simple action. This action could be creating a mental picture of walking onto the stage to give a rapturous performance; other colleagues may tap their leg three times or click their fingers.  The tip here is what works for you then go with it.

It should go without saying that rehearsing the presentation will be at the forefront of a quality presentation.  Do not simply stop at standing and reading through the script for each slide. Whilst practicing, each slide ought to carry the same emphasis as when you are standing up in front of your potential clients. Mentally prepare by imagining you are actually in the environment in which the presentation will take place. This offers the opportunity to choreograph movement and stance to sync with the presentation. Your presentation technique and hence delivery will improve dramatically if your presentation is analysed by a professional mentor through the use of video.

One of the first steps in becoming a great presenter is the acceptance that your presentation in both format and style are not perfect.  A driving analogy can be used at this point, we all think we are good safe drivers but are we? However long you have been driving bad habits creep in, subconsciously. At times these may be dangerous meaning you have to break suddenly or swerve to avoid an obstacle. Similarly when presentations are delivered the odd hesitant ummmhh may be forthcoming or hands stay in the trouser pocket at a key point. Afterwards the laptop closes and the presentation forgotten.  Always take time to review how the presentation could be improved even if you win that contract worth millions. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you are invincible. 

Reduce the risk.
A starting point for improving your presentations and so add value to your company is by investing in “The Presenter’s Handbook”. This will outline some of the key stepping stones to becoming a Power Presenter.  Still not convinced then take the quick test at answer 15 questions and get immediate feedback.