Powerful presentations are created and delivered by people who are well prepared to present something superior. Whether presenting a project or plan, a sales proposal, or presenting themselves as valuable enough to merit a pay increase, they seem to radiate rightness. They are the right choice. Theirs is the best product, plan or proposal. They’re certain about this, before they even set foot in the room. And they know how to use modern sales techniques to transform their presentations from “nervous salesman” quality into “purring panther” – the way they should be.
Let’s look at some of these transformational techniques:
Body Language is Vital (Even on the Phone!)
Powerful presenters seem to have an air of pure power, a certain degree of dominance and control as they present. They’re confident, yet approachable. One important tool for achieving this yourself is body language. By adjusting the way you present yourself physically, you adjust and elevate the message you put across just by your physical presence. There’s plenty to look up, study and practice about body language, online and off, and it’s very well worth the investment to dig into the subject and put it into practice. For starters, though, probably the most basic of basics are to stand up straight, head up, limbs uncrossed but comfortable, and smile genuinely. Do these things and you instantly come off less stressed; you’re set to deliver what you need to say in a calm, crisp manner.
Surprisingly, even over the phone body language is important (and many phone calls are a sort of mini-presentation in themselves). There may not be a physical presence, but it’s been found that if you maintain good, positive body language when you’re talking on the phone, you actually feel, act and sound more confident. And that confidence is transmitted to the people you’re talking with. Try it! Smile while on a call. Sit (or stand) straight, in a calm, confident posture. It might seem silly, but the person on the other end will hear the confidence in your voice. Even a forced smile will tell the person on the other end of the line that you are cheerful, excited to hear from them, and excited about what you have to tell them. And again, just keeping up positive body language will reduce your stress and boost your confidence. Who wouldn’t love a little of that, mid-presentation?
Sometimes unexpected and unavoidable problems arise when you’re presenting. Maybe the power goes out, or the flash drive you were very, very sure to bring along has mysteriously escaped from your pocket. Being well prepared can help you deal with such nasty surprises, and sometimes can even add to the impression of cool confident professionalism you create with your audience. A smooth delivery when everything goes as planned is impressive, but calmly working around whatever punches fate throws at you can carry a big impact and earn you respect. Let’s say the projector dies the moment your first slide hits the screen. And then the back-up projector your host kindly provides blows up too. Total wipe-out? No. Not when you calmly distribute the hand-outs you brought of your whole slideshow, and carry on. (“Wow. Talk about well-prepared. She’s a rockstar!”)
Arrive well rested and energized, jacked on life, and you’ll roll into the room like the boss you are. It sure helps keep your body language positive and natural, too.
In other words, preparation means making sure you’re physically and mentally ready to face your audience and impart the wisdom you came to share.
Don’t Sell. Present.
No matter what you’re presenting about, you’re out to sell something. A product, a project, even just an idea, attitude or viewpoint. That’s “sell” in the sense of bringing about a change in the way your listeners think or act, even if there’s no commercial transaction involved.
But even though you’re there to sell something, there’s an important rule to follow: Don’t sell. Present. It’s like this: used car salesmen have gotten a lousy reputation, wouldn’t you say? Just the mention of them conjures up some truly off-putting imagery: pushy, sweaty, trying to foist off dubious products on whoever will fall for their weasel pitch. Gross. (They aren’t all that way – but that’s still the common view.)
The image of a competent presenter is the polar opposite of such a sorry creature: confident, poised, justifiably proud of the value of their product, service or message. They provide the facts in engaging, easily-grasped form, and explain why those facts are important to you. Even when they’re out to sell you something, you don’t get the feeling of being sold. You’re being educated, enlightened and informed. Cheers!
With an honest presentation, well prepared and engagingly delivered, you can even talk about something somewhat silly (like this blog did about chocolate). Just make sure what you’re saying is well-grounded and logical (even goofy logic will do, if you present in an honestly goofy way) and give your listeners an appealing call to action – a definite goal to pursue, desirable change to make, or action to take, and your talk will have value and be appreciated.
Have any other sales techniques you’ve found helpful as a presenter? Share them in the comments below!
About the Author
Mary Grace lives in Idaho’s enchanting Treasure Valley. She loves exploring the relationships between the human experience and business. Tweet her at @marmygrace or send her an email (email@example.com) with questions, comments, or just for a good talk.