As a small business owner (or even someone who works in Corporate Canada, for that matter), coming up with a business (or idea) is the easy part. The hard part is presenting your business or… selling it. When I meet small business owners, the first question I ask is: “what do you do?” or “what is your idea?”
…[5 minutes later]
Me: “So…you sell gummy bears to people who prefer chewing gum when they are in Scugog, Ontario in April and May”?
Are you confused…that’s my point. I often wonder: if they can’t give me an “elevator-pitch” of their business or business idea, how well do they do in a sales meeting to a potential client?
I have done hundreds of presentations in my career selling products and ideas; from one person to up to 100 people, from front-line to C-level executives. The techniques and tips that I have come up have been vetted with extensive experience. Here are my “Fab-5 Presentation Tips” (assuming you are using MS PowerPoint or another presentation software):
1. Know your content
Don’t rehearse your presentation like an actor rehearsing their script. Tell a story. This way, if something goes wrong during your presentation (technical or of any other nature); it’s easier to remember and tell a story rather than struggle to remember what you are supposed to say as scripted. This also makes you look better because you will sound comfortable and genuine and your audience will respond to that much better than someone who is linear and scripted. People remember “stories” they don’t remember slides.
2. Don’t read the slides
Reading slides is just plain bad. It tells your audience that you don’t know the content very well (even if you do) and that starts to diminish the confidence they have in you. You need them to be confident in you because confidence builds trust, trust builds a relationship and a relationship makes the sale. It keeps the audience engaged; otherwise, they will just read the slide at their pace and “check-out” and not pay any attention to you. You want them engaged for the same reasons above and so they can help build your brand by sharing with others how good and knowledgeable of a presenter you are.
Whether it is hard line or a wireless connection, going to an Internet connection during your presentation is a bad idea. It kills the momentum of the presentation because you can’t predict the speed or the reliability of the connection outside of your office. “Umm..just a sec…almost…oh, firewall problems…” and so on. Your best bet is to take a screen-cap of any website reference you are making and display it in your presentation; be sure to give the audience the URL for reference.
4. Limit Technology Gimmicks
If you need PowerPoint, a 2nd laptop, external DVD’s, external cued music and props to give your presentation, then perhaps you should think of being an A/V Technician instead of an entrepreneur! This is overkill and it’s distracting; it breaks the momentum of the presentation. Most presenters I have seen use a lot of the “extras” because they are over compensating for the lack of #1 above (i.e. know your content). You should be able to integrate most “extras” IN your presentation so you can keep it fluid.
5. Lecturing 101
I’ll be the first to admit this one is the most debatable. There is a school of thought out there that suggests it’s better to stand in one spot (like a university professor) to give your presentation because it is less distracting – that’s not me! I do agree that there is a fine line to how much you should move in a presentation but I find as a presenter, you can keep people engaged more this way and it also helps get rid of any anxieties you might have while giving a presentation – it loosens you up, you’re not standing still. My suggestion is, when you come to an important point, stay clear of the screen and be sure to stand still at that moment, so your point hits hard.
Be a presenter. Be Real
Reality Business Consulting (RBC) (www.realityconsulting.ca) is a Toronto-based Marketing and Website Design and Development company dedicated to helping small business grow. We do this by providing insightful marketing and sales knowledge, planning, execution and website design and development, on a small business budget. The foundation of our success lies in our strong business acumen and our ability to listen to and understand the needs of our clients, translating their ideas into a concrete plan of action; ultimately, delivering profitable results for them.
If you are searching for a professional and customer-focused marketing company with extensive work in website design and development located in Toronto, contact us for a “Reality Check; a no-obligation, no-charge consultation of your business.