Business Presentation Skill
Building a strong business presentation skill set may be the most lucrative thing you ever do. It's a critical part of effective business communication.
First let's look at the skills that you absolutely, don't-stand-up-on-stage-without-it must have to be any good at doing business presentations. Without these essentials you'll probably be inneffective at best - and you don't even want to think about what 'at worst' looks like.
And then as a bonus I'll show you a 'secret weapon' that you can use to make people really sit up and take notice next time you present.
By the way in case you're wondering I've probably done hundreds if not thousands more business presentations than you have, to audiences all over the world. What you're about to read can't be found anywhere else on the web because I haven't written it down before! It's based entirely on my own experiences and not on any MBA textbook (MBA, in case you don't know, stands for many things, but Master Bulls__t Artist seems most accurate based on my observations).
Alright enough of the credentials. What business presentation skill do you need to work on?
This doesn't have to be a pain. In fact I find it one of the most enjoyable parts of the whole presentation process. You see if you research well you are the best prepared person in the room and that's a cool feeling. Even if there are people with greater technical expertise than you, there should be absolutely no-one who is better prepared for what will happen during the presentation process.
What do you research? Everything! Well let me qualify ... everything that's relevant to you getting the outcome you want.
Number one is the problem the audience wants to get solved.
That might mean for example researching the audience and particularly what they want, a product, a market, an economic climate, recent events, competitors.
In business people generally expect you to know what you're talking about. Don't be afraid. Get excited about massively increasing your understanding of a particular aspect of the business world.
Based on your research into what's required you can put together your cunning plan for the presentation. Research is an often overlooked business presentation skill. If you don't do it you'll normally regret it.
Make A Connection Early
Business audiences can be great, open and receptive and really enthusiastic - and they can be the opposite.
Either way don't leave the mood to chance. You are in charge so make sure you get on side with them right from the start.
Also remember... chances are very good that the more senior they are, the more impatient they are, and the more they want to find out early whether it's worth them staying.
A great way to do this is to get them feeling like it's you and them ganging up against the problem they want to solve. If you get it wrong it's more like you're adding to their problems by giving them the additional one of 'how can we get rid of this person soon'.
A critical business presentation skill is the ability to get them relaxed up front, so you can talk with them about what they're interested in.
Sometimes it's good at the start of a presentation to ask 2 questions in succession so that (if they're playing ball) everyone raises their hand to either question 1 or questions 2.
"Can you please raise your hand if you own your own business. Thank you and can you now raise your hand if you work for someone else. Excellent and now please show me who won't raise their hand no matter what I say!"
That sort of thing's great to break the ice by getting everyone in the audience to do something, & you'll at least get most people smiling if not laughing out loud.
Business people don't like being lectured at any more than the rest of us so don't do it. Have some fun with them early if you can.
Interact With Them
The best presenters I've ever seen do this really well. They have mastered the important business presentation skill of asking questions and developing a conversation with an audience.
Most people ask questions of an audience really badly. A common mistake is what I call the 'pathetic hand raise'. A presenter has heard it's good to get people to raise their hands, so they ask a question and then tentatively raise their own hands. They then see few if any hands raised by the audience, and get worried.
For example: "Does that make sense to you?" followed by pathetic hand raise.
For a start the question didn't suit a raised hand response. It required a yes or a no. Better to cup your hand behind your ear in the hard of hearing gesture.
The second big mistake was being hesitant. The most important thing for any leader is to be clear. Any confusion when asking an audience to respond and you'll get a predictable, pathetic response.
Contrast that attempt with this:
"Ok I'm interested in who's had this experience so in a moment I'll get you to raise your right hand in answer to a simple question. Is everyone clear? Great. Now if you've ever had that experience please raise your right hand, now".
Firmly raise your hand as you say the last word and watch with amazement at the immediate, emphatic response from your audience.
This business presentation skill alone will do a lot to keep your audience on your side, trusting you to lead them in a sensible direction.
Use Visual Aids Really Well
Notice this doesn't say 'get good at Powerpoint'. There's so much more to being great with visual aids than just knowing how to put a sexy slideshow together (although it helps).
Be a bit obsessive about this business presentation skill. Just get it right ok! Nothing goes wrong with your technology in the presentation room alright! If it does have a super-slick backup that you switch to quickly and elegantly. If you can't even make a short visual aid presentation work why on earth would I have confidence in you to help me with my business problem?
Your Secret Weapon
Remember at the top of this page I promised ... "And then as a bonus I'll show you a 'secret weapon' that you can use to make people really sit up and take notice next time you present."
Here it is.
through this site and I'll personally respond with my thoughts on your business presentation skill. To start off just ask me any question you like and we'll take it from there ok? Don't worry it's free to get this feedback.
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