Sometimes it amazes me how passionate someone can be about their business yet have no idea how to effectively present themselves or their message. In a group presentation many presenters forget what it’s like to be sitting at the table listening. Here are some tips for effective group presentations:
1. If you must use Powerpoint please do not type out your presentation word for word on the slides and them read them to the audience. Just because other people do it doesn’t mean you should. Remember how you became bored listening to the last presentation you attended that read out loud exactly what was on the slide? How their voice became monotone and unemotional. How you sat there thinking, “I could’ve just been emailed this information and read it at my leisure” ..and then how your mind drifted off? Any visual display should be for making a point that would be better made visually, such as a graph, chart or photo. When you have completed that talking point the visual should also go away. Keeping information up can distract your audience to keep reading or looking and thinking about that topic and not follow you to the next point.
2. If you use handouts do not supply them until after you are done speaking. Here is the issue. How many times have you noticed that when the handouts get passed around people start talking – from “thank you” to comments on the handout and then the noise of people moving and paper shuffling. If you are speaking during this time no one is paying attention. Then, of course, now they start to look at the item, first the critique it, is it glossy and professional, how much did he/she pay for this they wonder, is it a poor quality copy that is crooked and hard to read, how come it’s not more professional they think? And then they start reading it… 3 minutes has gone by and no one has heard you. They are busy reading. This is why you get those questions at the end of your presentation that confuse you because you specifically covered those topics. If there is something specific that you want to cover on the handout, have them distributed before people sit down. They will peruse it before you speak and be more familiar with it and able to follow you. And you avoid the time lag and distraction of passing it out during your speech.
3. Using notes? Practice your presentation and then write out bullet points to remind you of the topics and examples you wish to cover. Use note cards. If you have a tendency to be nervous when speaking do not hold a sheet of paper. It will draw all attention to your shaking hands. If you do not have a lectern to place the notes on, use large font on a sheet of paper and set it on the table. There is nothing wrong with using notes. Don’t ever feel that there is.
4. If you are using a laptop, projector, microphone, clicker etc. Make sure it works before people are sitting down waiting for you.
5. Be aware of your body movements. You don’t have to stand rigidly still, but try not to bounce on your toes or shift back and forth from one foot to the other as though you need to use the restroom!
One on One:
I go on a lot of appointments and when I make these mistakes I am embarrassed. When others do it it drives me up the wall!
1. Be early and be prepared for your appointment. If you are going to be using your computer, make sure you are there in time to get it turned on and connected to the wifi and all the pages you will be using pulled up and ready. No one wants to sit around and wait for you to do this. If you do, like the handouts in the group session, they could be giving you valuable information but you won’t hear it because you are searching and typing and getting frustrated that the computer is running so slow!
2. Know why you are meeting, and what you want the outcome to be. This means clarifying on the phone prior to meeting to establish how long you will have, what you want to discuss, and learn what the other person wants to accomplish.
3. Put the phone away. You should not be expecting calls when you are meeting someone. If you tried to get ahold of someone else earlier your message to them should have included instructions that you will be in a meeting and will be free afterwards. Never let a potential customer, colleague or client feel like someone else is more important. Exception: you’re expecting a call from the hospital or school, in that case warn the other person at the beginning of the meeting. Don’t wait until the phone rings.
Outgoing Phone Message:
This next one really astonishes me! People who do not have a personalized message on their voicemail! If someone gave me your number and I have never called you before and I get a generic “you have reached 555-5555, leave a message” I don’t know for sure if I have a correct number! It doesn’t sound professional and it could cost you business. I remember calling a referral from a client. This person was a grief counselor. She had the standard cell phone message leaving the phone number. What if someone who “needed” to reach her, in tears and upset calls to make an appointment? That person isn’t about to leave a message with his or her name and number. If they did leave a message they would probably be more distressed waiting for a call back wondering if they had the right number. They may even get tired of waiting a few hours and ..you guessed it, called someone else. Lost business.
Having been in the Real Estate business for 16+ years this one amuses me too. The business card is just a way to present what you do and a way for someone to contact you.
1. Basics only please. So many people cram so many numbers on the card thinking that this way they are sure to be reached easily. The reverse is true. The thought that goes through most people’s head is “which number do I call?” Will they get a return call faster from the office, cell phone, home or 800#? Then if they call one and wait and hour with no call back they call the different number, wait 15 minutes and call another number. If you do get back to them they may decide you are just too difficult to reach and move on to someone else. Think also that then you have 3 or 4 voicemails to check every day and you are wasting more time! Keep it basic. One number
2. Again it is a business card not a brochure. Do not list all your services, locations, hours and specialties or multiple photos. Some many cram so much information on a card the font has to be so small that you need magnifiers to read it! Go easy on the background colors and the contrasting font color too. And forget script front unless it is big enough to read! You may think it looks classy but if no one can read it who will care? This goes for yard signs and car magnet or window signs too. I see so many that have classy script font or so much text that you can’t read it unless you stop. Remember, people are driving by at 15 to 65 miles an hour. The sign should have your name readily readable! Then make sure when your name is Googled your information comes up!
Online Profiles – Linkedin – Facebook- Website-email signatures-email address
I hold a whole class on your online presence. There are so many face palm type of mistakes out there!
1. Be Reachable. How many times have you gone to a website and searched in vain for a phone number? You want to just call and take care of your question and issue but all you can find is a contact form. Make sure your phone number is readily visible on your website, in your Linkedin summary and Facebook page. Make sure your personal Facebook Profile links to your website or Business Facebook page and not your corporate page or site. If anyone goes to the corporate site they could find a different representative than yourself. Lost sale!
2. Why should anyone call you? Make sure your website, Facebook and Linkedin message has a call to action. Who are you looking for, what problem can you solve from them, why do they need to call you over someone else in your business?
How to Feel Confident
1. Believe in yourself and your knowledge. You know you are good at what you do. Your knowledge and passion will shine if you just let it.
2. You are not the President of the United States – No one in the audience is out to catch you saying something wrong or attack your motives. No one is taking pictures and ready to report every little blunder you may make.
3. Practice confident postures and breathing. Before any meeting stand tall with your hand on your hips and say to yourself “I am confident!”. Even when you’re just making phone calls; stand tall, take a few breaths, put your hands on your hips and pull your shoulders back and say out loud “I got this!”