Transform presentations into sales with the right technology and communication tools
Learned in tandem, a program like Microsoft PowerPoint and good presentation skills can form a powerful partnership. Here are some easily implemented (yet too often not followed) tips that can transform a presentation into a sale:
Shoot down bullet points
Quit using all those bullet points. Despite considerable evidence that people who are reading aren’t listening, presenters continue to load up on slide text.
If you want people to hear you, use chiefly all-graphic slides to reinforce a message. When you do use text, place it closer to pictures for better retention.
Don’t overstate. People tune out after 20 minutes, so change up what you’re doing frequently with personal stories and humor. Create a toolbox of openers, closers and games that can be used in different presentations, or pulled out in an “emergency.” This is a key technique for everyone with good presentation skills.
Who is in the audience?
Understand your target audience. Different cultures, employee levels, and ages will respond to different stimuli. Understand objections, hidden agendas and disruptions you may encounter and how to handle them as well as how to read audience signals and tailor your presentation to them.
Develop a clearly-defined personal style, including everything from how fast you talk to how you move, then customize as needed to engage specific audiences. Reinforce this targeted approach with handouts and other complementary tools.
Make the most of your technology tools
In PowerPoint, for example, create re-usable PowerPoint templates that vary colors, fonts and effects to customize easily for multiple environments. Learn about such tools as Notes, Handouts, Packaging for CD, Custom Shows and Presenter View to dial up professionalism, appeal and retention.
By learning presentation skills and technical skills together, you can dramatically increase effectiveness, efficiency and excitement-all leading to a healthier bottom line.
No grammatical distractions
Make it grammatically “spotless.” If content is great, but grammar is lousy, you could wind up needlessly losing respect-and, in turn, sales.
A true story about a district court judge denying a motion solely on the basis of poor writing illustrates the often-overlooked importance of good grammar: In denying the motion, the judge used a red pen to mark problems with structure, capitalization, word choice, and other shortcomings-and ordered the offending lawyer to show his client why the motion was denied. A newspaper article detailing this account pointed out that, “This provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the vital role grammar plays in communication.”
When conceptualizing your next presentation, consider substance, style and syntax together to help ensure a satisfying and productive outcome.