Monthly Archives: April 2013

Say Goodbye to Spreadsheets…

It may not be your first choice and you know the audience is going to hate you for it, but sometimes you have to present numbers, figures, calculations, results, financials, statements, and more. While it certainly makes it more enjoyable and digestible for the audience if the numbers are positive and show growth, profits, or bonuses, the reality remains that most people don’t like looking at numbers in a presentation and tend to tune out. A surefire way to lose the audience is to pop an Excel spreadsheet up on the screen and begin talking.

A spreadsheet is dull, difficult to follow, and not meaningful to an audience. Next time you have the task of presenting numbers, try using something visual. Try a pie chart to show proportions, such as sales by company division as a part of the whole company. Use a line chart to show a trend, such as profit growth over the last four quarters. Or, put together a bar chart to compare expenses over the last 12 months. These graphics are simple to build and create something digestible and understandable for your audience.

Take this one step further, though. The default in PowerPoint is for the visual to show up on the screen in one piece. However, you can animate your charts and graphs and build them along with the audience. This gives you time to discuss each piece as you go along. You can explain why something may have happened or congratulate a group on a great quarter as your line chart shoots to the sky. If you do this, keep the effects simple – we don’t need spinning and twirling. Keep in mind you don’t want to detract or make a serious presentation cartoonish.

So, next time you are faced with the daunting task of presenting financials, spruce it up a bit and you will see it is much more enjoyable for the audience, and they will both understand and retain what you have presented much better.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words…

As studies show, we are all exposed to over 3,000 ads per day. How many do you remember? Not many, I am sure… but below are some really great, unique ads that will make you stop and think as they communicate their message clearly and even emotionally. These are a few of the ads you will remember as they break through the clutter and connect. Let me know what you think of these or if there are others that stand out in your mind.

Stop Abuse…
Abuse

Tetris Returns…
Tetris

Rowenta Vacuum…
Rowenta

Save the Whales…
Whales

Softlan Fabric Care Smells So Good…
Softlan

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Follow-Up? What Follow-Up?

You just gave the presentation of a lifetime. You had a room full of top decision-makers from your all-time top prospects. You had their ear and they were eating up every word of what you had to say. These execs were engaged, their wheels were spinning, and they wanted you, your product, or your service. So, the presentation ends and what do you do?

I can’t even count how many times people come to me and we discuss presentation strategy and develop a great game plan and a fantastic presentation. And, a month later, they call me and are wondering why the presentation didn’t turn into new business. My first question is always, “What did you do after the presentation ended?” Did you have a follow-up plan of action in place or did you just let it go, thinking that the audience was going to call you?

Just as important as the presentation, if not even more so, is your follow-up. You must have a plan in place before you set foot into that room and start speaking. Without a good follow-up plan, you are basically leaving it all on the table, because I can pretty much guarantee that no one is going to be calling you without some further provoking.

There are many strategies to employ. Try collecting email addresses and sending a follow-up email. Or, ask if audience members want to receive your newsletter or blog posts. You can always try a good old-fashioned phone call. What about an invitation to your next presentation or even a webinar? The strategies are endless, but the key point remains – have a strategy and make it very specific. In addition to your actions, put a timetable together so you know that, for example, seven days after the presentation, attendees get a phone call. Seven days after that is a follow-up email. Ten days later is a snail-mail letter and an invitation to your next speech. Don’t let too much time pass as you want to hit them hard in the weeks immediately following your presentation.

What are some of your strategies for follow up? Share below… I would love to hear how others do it.

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Elevate Your Elevator Speech…

The scenario is all too familiar – you are at a networking event, tradeshow, or cocktail party and someone asks, “What do you do?” Many people dread this question because they think their answer must be creative or profound. In reality, your answer should try to serve as a conversation starter.

All too often, someone responds and you can see the questioner’s eyes begin to glaze over. So how do you alter this scenario so that your “elevator speech” makes an impact on those asking?

Begin by taking a second to think about who is asking and why. You want to make the conversation about that person… people love to talk about and hear about themselves. And if the person has an issue you can help with, even better! Emphasize his or her needs rather than what you do. Focus on what the client values.

Answer the “so what” before you are asked. Don’t just say, “I sell IT systems” – the response is likely an unspoken “so what?” Explain what your technology can do for the potential client. Don’t just mention features… again, focus on the prospect and what those features can do for the client and how you can help the person achieve goals.

Speak to the person asking, not above him. Use language he will understand – that doesn’t mean to talk to him like a child, but simplify so that what you say makes sense.

Another fantastic way to better your short introduction is by using specific examples tailored to the person with whom you are speaking. Ask questions and then tailor your comments to reflect her response. Tell stories about ways you have worked with clients in the past.

Remembering some of these tips should help you next time you are approached at a gathering.

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