Just how good would your next presentation be if you walked up on stage sporting one of these..?
Posts Tagged ‘Conference’
Technical gremlins are a devious bunch. They choose their moments carefully, conspiring to cause maximum discomfort and embarrassment, and after what I’m sure was months of planning and hard work, they have recently achieved something of a coup d’état.
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and noted philanthropist, was presenting to the 1922 Committee and Conservative Friends of International Development when he experienced the gremlins wrath.
Had he been in less auspicious surroundings, I am sure that we would be able to re-run this event ad nauseam on any number of media platforms but alas we are working from barely whispered hints.
Some say that his laptop wouldn’t work, some say that his PowerPoint presentation failed to run and some are simply unwilling to speculate…
Whatever happened we can be sure that Mr Gates had the skills to carry on in an unflustered and professional manner, getting his message across effectively despite the best work of the gremlins.
The reason..? He’ll have had the forethought to develop his presentation on paper first and, when totally happy with it’s message, content, structure and visual anchors, committed it to PowerPoint.
It’s a process we call Presentation Optimisation and all the best companies use it…
We’ve had the privilege of working with a high profile financial client for many years (this is our 6th year on the trot – something we’re rather proud of…).
Each year, we get together with the top brass and start working on the slide decks for their AGM. This is an incredibly important event for them – a chance to celebrate their numerous successes and share their plans for the year ahead.
Each and every year has been a success. Why?
Whilst we’d love to put it all down to the love and attention they get from the Eyeful team, it goes deeper than that.
The entire team (top brass included) cares. They demonstrate a commitment to the presentation that is nothing short of remarkable.
The MESSAGE is carefully considered.
The CONTENT is honed, edited and brought to life with examples.
The DESIGN is subtle and focussed on delivering information clearly and succinctly.
The embodiment of this considered approach is that each of the 18 presentations was carefully scripted. Now, many experts would get themselves in a terrible tizzy when faced with a series of scripted presentations…yet this team makes it work. Brilliantly.
Due to a team-wide commitment to rehearsals and reviews, none of the presentations sounded scripted on the day. The entire event moved from the typical “show up and throw up” results presentation to being an engaging, personal and joined-up series of communication pieces.
Powerful stuff…and something the audience won’t forget quickly.
It goes to prove a few things.
- Quality presentations take hard work and commitment.
- Presentations need to be taken seriously by everyone…from the top brass down.
- Rehearsal and focus turns a script into an engaging presentation.
Now ask yourself a simple question – can the same be said for your next presentation..?
The Christmas break seems such a long time ago. By now, your days are likely to be overflowing with meetings, strategy sessions and reinvigorated marketing campaigns. Busy, busy, busy…
A fair proportion of our Blog readership are also likely to be sweating about an upcoming Sales Kick Off event. At the time of booking the date out in everyone’s diary, it seemed such a good idea – an opportunity to gather the troops and fire them up as you launch into a new year. The venue’s booked, the travel and accomodation has been arranged and the presenters have been informed.
But with the date now looming, what state are you in? Typically companies fall into one of two groups:
- Organised, co-ordinated and in control
- The frantic, confused and downright disorganised
If you’d place yourself firmly in Group 2, worry not – you’re not on your own. From our discussions with companies of all sizes, lack of structure and focus for sales events is a common issue.
As you’d expect, we’d recommend focussing on developing a cohesive set of presentations that ensure your message really packs a punch to your eager sales audience (oh, and just to be clear, by message we don’t mean simply rolling out this year’s quotas and budget).
The Sales Kick Off is your opportunity to clearly communicate with one of your most important stakeholders so make the most of it.
To this end (and to hopefully offer some inspiration for those in need!), we’ve pulled together a short Podcast on what to do (and not to do) when preparing your Sales Kick Off event presentations. Simply click below to listen.
Considering the huge investment companies make in pulling together their sales team for Kick Off meetings, it’s amazing how many of the presentations are thrown together at the last minute with little consideration of joined-up messaging or how they resonate with the audience. Don’t fall into the same trap…
Let’s face it – most people learn to make presentations in front of relatively small groups of people. So when it comes to presenting yourself, your ideas or your business to an audience of hundreds at a conference, it’s unsuprising that panic can often set in.
Fret not! We bring good news - there is another way. By giving yourself plenty of time to plan how and what you’re going to say and by doing some simple research, you can be sure of making a great impact.
As soon as you’ve made the decision to speak, decide on a compelling and engaging topic for your presentation (OK – it may seem a little obvious but you’d be amazed at how many people go for some wishy-washy subject that really won’t appeal to the audience).
It should be one in which you have some expertise, to give you the confidence you need to speak about it. It should also be consistent with the theme of the conference (a blatent sales pitch rarely wins you fans in the audience).
Outline the key benefits to the audience, as this will help you focus and help the conference organisers promote the event.
Next do some research by getting the answers to some important questions.
- What time will your session be and how long will it last?
- Are you expected to take your own handouts, or will the organisers provide them for you? In which case, in what format should you provide them?
- How many people are expected to attend and who are they?
- How will the room be set up?
- When can you have access to the room?
- Will they provide the equipment you need, or should you take your own?
The more information you can get, the better prepared you’ll be.
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare you presentation and practice it. If it doesn’t feel right, you’ll need enough time to improve it (blagging, no matter how noble an art form you may consider it, rarely works).
Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time to prepare supporting visuals (and no, that doesn’t always have to mean PowerPoint!)
Prepare your handouts to give delegates even more value from attending your presentation.
The witching hour is almost upon you so make sure you’re organised and mentally prepared for what lies ahead:
- Before you leave for the conference, make sure you have back up copies of your presentation, so you know your files are safe if you have problems with your equipment.
- When you get there, check that you’re happy with the layout of the room and that all the equipment you need is there and working.
- Try to attend some other sessions at the conference, to make sure you don’t duplicate what’s already been said. This will also give you the opportunity to find out more about your audience.
After making your perfect presentation (and yes, it will be), make a note of questions you were asked, as this is good material for your next presentation.
If you promised to get in touch with anyone – to provide extra information or contacts – make sure you get their contact details and then do what you promised.
This will make you stand out from many presenters who never keep in touch with people they meet (crazy but true…).
Time to let you into a little secret…
Speaking at conferences used to scare the living daylights out of me. Despite being armed with a great story, compelling support materials and hours of rehearsal, I’d be a quivering wreck by the time my introduction onto the stage was being made.
And then a colleague let me into little secret – the audience want you to succeed.
They are on your side!
They want to engage with you, smile knowingly at your ice-breaking gags and marvel at your visuals.
Add that positive feeling in the room to a presentation that has been carefully planned, designed and rehearsed, and you’re onto a winner.
Trust me – it works…