A business professional must know how to make an engaging sales presentation to be successful in their job. Presenting information in a way that captures the audience’s attention is a crucial skill for students and professors as well.
Sitting through a boring sales presentation can be one of the worst parts of a manager’s job. Life and opportunity tick away while you’re trapped watching someone drone through monotonous slides. When your brain shuts down because you’d rather be anywhere else, it becomes much harder to capture whatever nuggets of value might be buried in the data. Bad presentations are such a prevalent problem in today’s business world, there are websites dedicated to collecting the worst PowerPoint slides. Follow the golden rule and don’t put anyone else through this torture.
Recently, I attended a sales pitch for some business equipment. The guy literally read the slides verbatim. You’ve probably heard of the PowerPoint sing-a-long. This presentation was worse than that.
Besides the unexciting delivery, the slides were full of text that was crammed together and out of balance. The slides used multiple fonts that clashed and were hard to read. The color contrast between the background and the fonts was painful to look at and the fonts were low-resolution.
I felt like the guy in the movie Clockwork Orange, strapped in a chair with my eyes wired open so that I couldn’t escape. This kind of situation is not conducive to a successful sale. I can’t even remember anything special that would make me want to give his product a second thought. It was a sad waste of that salesman’s opportunity.
Time is valuable. There’s probably no one who thinks their time is cheap. This is especially true for anyone you want to convince to spend money or make a commitment to a business relationship. You only have a brief window to capture your audience’s attention. No matter how good your product, idea, or service might be, you will lose customers if your presentation is so distracting that your client is wishing he had a bottle of saline drops to soothe the eye strain.
Don’t make the mistake of torturing your prospects. Think about the difference between modern television and hte pacing of a classic movie. Images and information are presented at a much faster pace than they were in years past. We have been trained to receive our information in small bites that are visually compelling. If the information isn’t presented clearly, with attention given to visual interest and readability, and our minds will wander.
Of course, the first and most important ingredient is to deliver substantive, meaningful information as succinctly as possible. Put your best case together with your most powerful arguments. Make your points short and direct. Summarize and highlight why your product or service can help or solve a problem. Don’t bog your presentation down with long paragraphs or complicated graphs and flow charts. Simplify.
Don’t stop at crafting your presentation to present your message as directly and powerfully as possible. Generic Power Point slideshows just don’t cut it. Take the time to prepare and polish your message. Making an impact takes hard work, but, there are some tips that can help you rapidly make a big improvement. Consider taking a class in professional presentations. There are lots of experts who can help you design and create your presentation. A small investment in someone with expertise can have a big payoff. Alternatively, the web is full of blogs and tutorials that can help you learn design basics and offer tips for strengthening your message.
Several software programs are available that can help you quickly prepare professional-looking presentations. With a minimal investment of time, you can punch up your presentation with subtle movement, vibrant colors and high resolution fonts.
One example includes highlighting a thought-provoking keyword as semi-transparent text that moves subtly in the background. Alternatively, as you reveal new bullet points, the previous bullet can step back and become de-focused or transparent. You can also transform low-resolution fonts into highly readable text that ranges from tasteful to dramatic.
Some programs allow you to drag and drop your existing PowerPoint slides into professionally designed themes and templates that have very sophisticated visual appeal and help keep the audience focused. These software packages are surprisingly affordable.
You know how painful a bad presentation can be. We’ve all been there. Committing now to a little extra effort can pay off in big results. Use the cutting-edge technology that’s available and make your presentations something people want to stick around and stay awake for.