PREPARE Presentation System

Every communication with another person is a presentation. We have been giving presentations all our lives. We start off with only a few presentation tools. As babies, we cry, laugh, gurgle, make faces − but, we get our point across. As we age we add language, knowledge and reasoning. Our presentations become more important as our lives become more complex. Remember how many factors you had to consider the first time you convinced your parents to loan you their car to go out with friends on a Saturday night? No doubt, you prepared thoroughly for this presentation because you really wanted it to work.

The greater the importance and complexity of the presentation, the more thoroughly you need to plan.

If you are going to chat over lunch with a friend, you don’t need to prepare your “presentation” at all, of course. If you are going in front of a potential customer to sell them on what your organization has to offer, you must invest considerable time to make your presentation flawless.

The PREPARE Presentation System is a useful guide whenever your presentation requires elements of planning. The PREPARE steps are applicable to one-to-one, small and large group presentations alike. You may use only some steps for less formal presentations, all steps for the more formal. It is a checklist to help you make sure you will give confident presentations that have the impact you intend.

PREPARE Your Purpose: Audiences are not generic. They can vary widely in terms of information they already know, what they think of you, how they currently operate. Analyze your audience to make sure you are not telling them what they already understand or missing something they need.

Who is your audience? Consider the demographics of your audience. Age, gender, cultural influences, type of business, etc. can make a difference in how your audience receives your presentation.

What is your offer? What are the needs of this audience and what are you offering? Be specific − this is the core that focuses your content.

What do you want your audience to know, think, feel, and do? Address each aspect specifically. You may want your audience to understand the technology you offer. You may also want them to feel excited about and buy a new product. This defines your ideal outcome.

What do they already know, think, feel, and do? This includes identifying any preconceived ideas, skepticism or hidden agendas. This step helps prevent being surprised by your audience.

PREPARE your Persuasion Points: Based on your Purpose, how will you influence them to respond in the way you want?

What information do they need? A common mistake is to overwhelm by giving too much information. What are the most relevant facts, figures, trends, etc. that will give the audience the knowledge they need to understand what you can do for them?

What are the benefits? How will their investment help them be more successful? The audience needs to know what is in it for them.

What examples? Give the audience a clear picture of how others have used and benefited from your offer.

What will the audience lose if they do not choose your offer? Remember the “Got Milk?” ads? You don’t want to be stuck with a dry cookie in your mouth and OH, NO! NO MILK! You NEED that milk! Will your audience be less competitive without your offer? Lose money in the long run? Why do they NEED your offer?

PREPARE Your Presence: Dale Carnegie said “People buy people.” You are the face of your company, product and service to the audience.

Are your visuals easy on the eye and uncluttered? Your visuals should be easily readable from the back of the room. Limit each slide or flipchart page to a few bullets, particularly if you are displaying numbers. Bright colors should be used sparingly and only as highlights. There should be minimal and subtle movement of screens, bullets and objects in PowerPoint presentations. All pictures should be relevant to the topic.

When do you want the audience to focus on the visuals? When do you want your audience to focus on you? When you want the audience to look at your visual, step to the side of it. When you want them to look at you, place yourself front and center, and make eye contact with the audience. If possible, turn off the visual when you want attention on you.

Do your handouts match your visuals? This is particularly useful if your technological tools fail!

Is there space on handouts for note-taking? We process information better when we can put it in our own words. We also learn more as we use more of our senses. Make it easy for the audience to see, hear and write.

Is your body language relaxed and non-distracting? 50% of what we communicate is through body language. Look natural.

Is your tone enthusiastic and engaging? Tone conveys 30% of our message. If you do not sound excited about your offer, no one else will be.

Are your words clear and compelling? Since words only convey 20% of the message, make sure you choose them carefully for maximum impact.

PREPARE Through Practice: Know what your presentation sounds and looks like before you are in front of your audience. Find practice partners who will critique your presentation objectively.

Does your timing allow for your presentation and audience interaction? As with any well-planned meeting, a presentation should begin and end on time.

Will you use notes? Notes that list your key points and indicate timing will keep you on track.

Do your practice partners hear your messages in the way you intend? If there is a chance for the audience to misunderstand, they will. This is a make or break factor.

My next Ezine article will give simple tips to organize your presentation.

Ten Presentation Skill Secrets to Outselling the Competition

Usually, you have one opportunity to present your organization’s ideas, products, and/or services to the audience. You work on the account for months and the presentation is your big moment. You speak to an under enthusiastic, yet polite audience; they thank you for your presentation and say they will get back to you. Unfortunately, after the presentation you learn that they went with another vendor.

What Happened?
It amazes me how often we see presenters with only one opportunity to make a presentation to sell their products, services, or ideas who come nowhere near meeting the needs of their audience. It’s almost as if the presenter is apologizing for making a presentation, and this prevents them from presenting well.

Why is it important for you to give a powerful presentation that sells you and your organization? You face more competition during these economic times, so you need to stand out so that the prospective “customer” chooses you as their provider. Your job as a presenter is to convince the decision-makers to choose your organization or act on the information shared during your presentation. The following are ten presentation skills secrets that will help you give a powerful presentation that will sell you to decision makers:

  1. Research Audience Needs Invest time to find out what is important to the audience members so that you can meet their specific needs. Find out what challenges they face and how you can help them overcome these challenges. You will find out your audience members will appreciate your presentation more since you took the time to find out what is most important to them.
  2. Be Organized Have a clear opening, body, and closing to your speech. Take the time to outline your main points and keep it simple. Don’t put everything in your presentation. Keep your presentation to three main points with sub points.
  3. Get Excited Show your excitement and passion for the subject you present. When you are excited and it shows, the audience will also become excited about your presentation. Excited audience members are audience members who will take action.
  4. Dress the Part A friend once told me, “Dress like you want to be listened to.” Take time to dress the part of an expert. Be professional in the way you dress. Investing in your looks shows the audience that you respect them and want to do a good job for them.
  5. Open Strong Bring in the audience members by creating a strong opening that will engage and challenge the audience. Be confident and know your material so that rest of the presentation will be smooth.
  6. Present Features and Benefits Most presentations I listen to are laden with feature after feature of what the organization does. You will distance yourself from the competition by presenting how the features you present will benefit the decision makers. The difference between features and benefits is that features are elements a product or service has (e.g., easy opening parts, multiple customer service shifts, fast processors), while benefits are how those features can benefit the customer (e.g., easy opening parts allow you to quickly clean the product without hassle, multiple customer service shifts provide you with 24/7 service so that you get the answer you need when you need them, fast processor allow you to process your work in half the time). Remember, decision makers will not care about you and your organization until they see how your organization will benefit them.
  7. Questions Are the Answer As you prepare for your presentation, ask the following question: “What are the possible questions I might be asked during my presentation?” Once you have a list of possible questions, develop powerful answers. Develop the mindset that questions asked by the audience are positive because they give you clues to how you can adjust your presentation to meet their needs. So, embrace questions as a way to make your presentation better.
  8. Use PowerPoint As An Aid How many presentations have you seen that suffered “death by PowerPoint?” The presenter has hundreds of slides they must go through. The slides are cluttered with several lines of text and multiple graphics on the each page. Presenters read directly from every slide, as the audience grows bored. Remember the following to prevent death by PowerPoint: You are the presentation; PowerPoint is the supporting aid to your presentation. If your presentation cannot work without PowerPoint, it’s not a strong presentation. Look for unique ways to simplify your presentation by eliminating PowerPoint slides that do not enhance your message.
  9. Close Strong Close your presentation by asking audience members to take action on the information you shared in your presentation. Ask the decision-makers in your audience to take the next step and chose you and/or your company. Repeat the benefits of doing business with you so that you become the obvious choice.
  10. Ask for Feedback Your presentation doesn’t end with your closing. After your presentation, ask for feedback from decision-makers in the audience. Listen to the feedback so that you can address the concerns they may have concerning you and your organization.

Your job is to stand out and be a cut above the rest of the competition so that decision-makers will choose you or your organization. Follow the ten presentation secrets and you will gain more opportunities and success.

Be Cautious During the Listing Presentation

Please read this before inviting a prospective Realtor to your home to make a sales pitch why he is the best candidate to sell your home.

Whether it’s a Realtor or a vacuum sales rep, there are common tactics used to get you to sign on the dotted line. When deciding which agent will represent you for the most important purchase or sale of your life, beware of certain tactics used.

Many of these examples come from the book How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, by Darryl Davis. The purpose of this book is to get agents to double their income in 12 months. It is an older book, but the principles are still applicable.

The first step in the process is to build rapport. Be careful with this. According to Davis, part of this process will include personal questions such as what is taking you and your family out of town, where you’re moving to, etc. These questions aren’t just to break the ice. They are to find out if you are committed to aggressively selling your house. If not, Davis says (in reference to buyers not committed) “… refer her or him to an agent that hasn’t read this book!” I guess if you’re not able to contribute to a Realtor’s doubled income, you’re not worth their time.

When agents tour your home to gather information for the CMA, or Comparative Market Analysis, they may point out problems with your home and make noises such as, “hmmm.” All this is so you are more willing to accept a lower sales price for your home.

When discussing what they will do to sell your home and why you need a Realtor, he focuses on how much Realtors do. Ironically, in much of the rest of the book, it talks about why Realtors should try to get more listings… because it requires so much less work. He even gives an example of a Realtor that was in a truck accident and wound up in the hospital for a few months. The focus was that since he had a lot of listings, he didn’t need to worry because he would still be getting paid – even while doing nothing. I will dedicate other blog posts specifically to address this sales tactic.

Finally, when the listing presentation is all done, Davis explains an effective way to get prospective clients to sign on the dotted line. He says, “As you’re filling out the paperwork, you don’t want any silent pauses. If there’s silence, they start thinking…” He continues on the next page in regards to when you hand the contract to one spouse to sign, “The key is to involve the spouse so the two can’t communicate.”

I’m baffled. I’m truly baffled. Does the real estate industry really want a bunch of clients that aren’t able to communicate with their spouses, or worse yet, aren’t able to even think about a decision this important.