Let’s be frank –most business presentations pretty much suck. They are filled with clichés, fail to deliver any real insights, and are well… boring.
The best business presentations are things to behold. They engage, present challenges, deliver solutions, and inspire. The very best presentations may not even use tools such as PowerPoint to get the audience fully jazzed. They rely on several time-tested techniques to hook, foreshadow, and spark action.
Act One: Heroes and Quests
Many people begin business presentations with some old standards: an ice breaker, then a brief synopsis about themselves and their own accomplishments, then a headfirst, no-holds-barred dive into the meat of their pitch. There is a rhythm to these types of set-ups that can often lull the audience to sleep (figuratively or, in the worst cases, literally). Like it or not, people engage more when they are the subject of the story or can connect to the hero on an emotional level. Most well-loved stories feature a hero and a quest. These can equate to your client (hero) and their quest (goals). When you tee your audience up as the hero, they become emotionally invested in your story and are excited to learn how it is all going to turn out. When you relate their own story and how impressive it is back to the audience you will reap rewards. Craft your opener with well-researched information about how far the client’s business has come, how much they have to be proud of in relation to their marketplace, or some other fact that highlights how excited you are about their business and the opportunity to work with them. Once you have them emotionally engaged, you can set up the quest.
Hopefully, prior to entering your business presentation, you have had the opportunity to get an understanding of your client’s goals, objectives, challenges, target audiences Increase your productivity