Before the presentation
I’ve put together some steps that you may want to think about before the day of your presentation. If your presentation is tomorrow, some of these may not help, but it could be helpful in the future none the less.
The idea is to think about how the presentation fits into our over-all sales cycle. Even if you are not selling anything right now it is helpful to think about maximizing the time you have with your audience.
1) Who’s going to be there?: This sounds like a no brainer, but often we go into a presentation knowing that a contact or two may be there and then some anonymous “others” – try your best to find out exactly who will be in attendance.
2) What are their individual challenges?: While we probably know the general purpose of the presentation, i.e. “Discussion of New Product Launch”, Its helpful to know what each individual’s expectations might be. Don’t know? try and connect before presentation to ask – worse case scenario, just ask as an intro to your presentation, but ask.
3) Prepare questions: Your presentation may be designed to “answer all the questions” but here’s the rub: Nothing is more powerful then getting audience participation. Prepare questions that relate to the slides your presenting and pepper these questions throughout. You may find that simply preparing these questions forces you to think of other answers you may get and could thereby alter your presentation.
4) Logistics: What hardware is on site for your presentation and what do you need to bring? how long will you have for your presentation.
5) Dry runs: Run through your presentation, preferably in front of others, but if need be, alone and out loud. The more familiar you are with your material the better you will be handle the inevitable “curve balls” that will happen day of.
6) What’s your goal?: Regardless of the stated reason for the presentation, what do YOU want to get out of it? Even if this is the third time you are doing a product demo for the same client try and see it as another opportunity to get more info and progress the deal or situation. Come up with a list of what you want to know and use the opportunity to get your answers.