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Cutting-edge Presentation: Making an Impact

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Imagine yourself in front of a sales prospect. It’s your first time to make a sales pitch for your product or service. How are you going to start the conversation? What’s your sales pitch? Is there a presentation process that you need to follow? How do you prepare for a sales call and, more importantly, how do you ensure your audience’s continued interest during your presentation?

If you feel uneasy and have butterflies in your stomach, relax; you are not alone. It’s not easy to make quality presentations. But this should not stop you from trying to improve your chances of landing an account. We’ve culled helpful tips from our workshops and coaching seminars that can help you improve your next engagement and create an impact.

Be clear on your intention. Are you trying to introduce a product? Teach someone how to use a device? Make a sale? Or get the audience to test your offer? Remember that your presentation approach and techniques will change depending on your intention. Teaching objectives will require the use of diagrams and charts, while objectives for the audience to test your offer will require testimonials and sample distribution.

Prepare a checklist. Prior to the presentation date, make sure you cover the following: Did you study your audience? How well do you know your product and what salient features do you need to emphasize? What is your confidence level? What will you wear? How many will be in attendance? What are their expectations?

Remember the A.I.D.A. When you present, the audience is supposed to undergo the following four stages of the A.I.D.A. Process:

A” – Awareness of you, your company, your offer; “I” – Interest of the audience, which needs to be piqued to get more inquiries; “D” – Desire of the audience for what you have to offer; “A” – Action or the desired result from the audience.

It’s important to manage audience transition from awareness to action. There is no shortcut here. So practice. [How can you sustain audience interest throughout the process? Do you need to present examples? How can you make the process more interactive?]

Understand the selling process. The act of “presenting” falls under a bigger process called selling. The selling stage consists of these seven stages:

  1. Pre-approach
  2. Meeting and building rapport
  3. Questioning
  4. Listening
  5. Presentation
  6. Convincing
  7. Closing

Understanding the selling stage will give a better appreciation of the preparation and structure required.

Getting people to agree with what you suggest isn’t an easy task—unless the seven stages are fully appreciated.

Understand the presentation process. This involves the steps of Situation, Audience, Message, and Results Analyses.

  1. Situation Analysis asks—Where will I hold the presentation? What time will it be? What time will you present? Check the place where you will present. Do a timing analysis on how long you will talk. What is your purpose and how do you plan to resolve it?
  2. Audience Analysis examines—Who is attending? How many? Why are they interested? What is their profile? Who are the key individuals? Prior to your meeting the attendees, where (what other meetings) did they come from? Greet and build initial rapport with the audience before starting your presentation.
  3. Message/Subject Analysis looks at what your message is—What is the working outline? What are the pending issues and what were the prior discussions? How sensitive are the issues?
  4. Results Analysis is about monitoring real data, assessing the results and, if possible, providing benchmark comparisons with actual results.

Close with an impact. The two critical points in a presentation are: How did you get the audience’s attention? How will you be recalled? Some good techniques for ending a presentation include telling a story with lessons, leaving an acronym for easy remembrance (such as A.I.D.A.), or getting the audience to do a physical activity to end your talk.

If you follow all these tips, will it guarantee closing the account? Well, it will give you a better chance of doing so. Remember that you won’t get it after one or two practice attempts. What’s important is that you give your best and continue to have an open mind so you can increase your knowledge and learning. Now, if you’re given only one chance to present or create an impact, you’d better be sure to have done your best.

print ed: 12/09


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