I love to get infront of clients and help them understand the value and break down the complexity of my world of technology – which on the surface looks to be a bunch of hype, acronyms and other mumbo jumbo, but really does add value and make sense once someone breaks it down logically.
In doing this often, and I guess well, I have become a “go to” for the sales and business development teams to have me come in and speak in front of prospects as an SME on what we do and how my technology world fits into the bigger picture. Unfortunately, I am sometimes called in last minute for these presentations and only have 2-3 business days to prep.
So how do you ensure you aren’t creating every presentation from scratch and scrambling to get an impactful presentation delivered in a way that keeps your credibility, and invitations to speak at more events, up?
Build a master, re-usable deck for your business/area of expertise. How? Read on for a few tips to make this reality.
Make it Professional
As I work with more and more colleagues, one word continues to be re-iterated to me on the delivery – “professional”. What does that mean? First, it means I deliver a powerful message that quickly communicates
- Why Am I Here?
- What Do I/We Do That Would Be Of Interest To You?
- What Is The Value Of What I/We Deliver?
- Showing You How Others In Similar Situations Have Gained Value From What We Do
- Next Steps And/Or Closing Business Case
Second, it also means the presentation is polished and consistent. No grammatical errors. Text aligned. Polished graphics vs. clip art. Little to no bullets.
Do you have one or more sets of slides that are “intro grabbers”? For example, I walk through a few slides that explains a “what if” – starting with the complex, chaotic world many of our clients are in today but then walk them through a “what if” we started from ground zero differently and how would that look to change their world.
I’ve also seen other intro grabbers like “what’s in a number” to get people trying to guess what the “2” means on your slide, to many other tid bits and snippets to set up the conversation. These can often be entertaining, or, cause an emotion in the audience to want to listen to more of what you have to say.
If anything, your intro grabber needs to represent you, and is often your first, and only shot, to build instant credibility with a new audience in a matter of seconds.
If you think back through the last few presentations you have done, they have probably been similar in flow with some tweaks to the key messages and content for the audience you are talking to. Have it be your general agenda/framework you use for all your presentations and tweak along the way.
Get a Graphic Designer for Key Slides with Changeable Text
Don’t use clip art. You most likely have some impactful messages you need to get across, and wouldn’t you want the right image that fits your style and message? No matter if you are in a large, small or serve as an independent consultant, you should have a presentation style guide with a consistent font, background and color template to use such that if you need to get a new graphic designer to help they stay consistent within the bounds you already created. Ideally your presentations should have a similar look and feel to other marketing collateral, including your web site.
Testimonials & Case Studies
People already love what you have done for them, don’t they? Capture all your testimonials and case studies as you complete projects, not months later in the 9th hour. You can always add new case studies and then select the 2-3 relevant ones to deliver during your next presentation.
Time to Customize – Do Your Homework
In your flow of slides and graphics, you should have slides that you can “customize” to who you are delivering to. So when your graphic designer leaves you their work, you should be able to modify and move around the graphics if needed so you aren’t having to pay $$/hour for someone else to do what you can do (and again, what you are probably doing at midnight).
What should you look to customize?
- Information on your client’s environment – in my case its the names of different applications they have inhouse. Or, it could be how their organization is structured.
- Facts and figures on your client and/or the city/state they are in – for example local laws, current news and other related local topics. One speaker notes that she goes to the U.S. Census Bureau Web site for demographic information to weave into her conversations.
You never know when you finally get that break to be in front of 5000+ people or be invited to a major executive level conversation to present. So, get your “master deck” together now so you aren’t scrambling in the 9th hour when the opportunity arises to deliver.
Of course you can’t do this alone – you need someone outside of yourself to test the messaging and most likely a graphic design to add some shine. I am fortunate at the day gig to have a wonderful marketing director who coaches me on the messaging. She has a graphic designer that then helps ensure the presentation is polished and professional graphicly.
Do you need assistance with your next presentation? Give me a shout if you do!