Here are our top 10 tips for new business presentations.
Not to be confused with the first new business meeting, where your job is to understand the prospect’s challenges and objectives, this is for the second meeting when you are presenting your proposed solutions.
- Prepare, practise and perfect!
- Start by considering the following:
- What are your objectives?
- What conclusions do you want the presentation to draw/come to?
- What recommendations do you want your client/prospect to take on board?
- What are the next steps?
- What does your client/prospect want from the presentation?
- What is the desired outcome?
- If you don’t know any or all of these, then ask!
- Once you have established all of the above, develop a clear structure that will help you answer the questions, possibly in order of priority. Your structure must follow the core principles of beginning, middle and end! Sounds obvious I know, but you’d be amazed at how many presentations I’ve seen during my 30 plus years in business that don’t adhere to these basic principles! What tends to be missing in my experience is a clear opening, including scene setting and signposting and a clear summary and conclusion (which, by the way, are two different things!!).
- Research and develop your content to ensure that it delivers against the objectives and fits into your structure. Brain dump all your content before applying the MUST, SHOULD, COULD rule to determine what to include in the physical presentation and what to include in the leave behind.
- You’re now ready to prepare both documents, bearing in mind they need to fulfil different objectives (for example, the actual presentation must be short and sweet and contain lots of white space, whereas your leave behind can contain all manner of company information, back up data, additional case studies etc). It is also important at this stage to decide how you’re going to present – slides, boards, props etc.
- Always find out what the physical environment is going to be like a few days prior to the presentation: How big is the room? What’s the layout like? What technical facilities do they have?
- Research your audience: Who’s going to be there and why? What’s the pecking order? Who are the key influencers? A top tip is to speak to the main decision maker prior to the presentation and either pick their brains on a topic or ask their advice and check out that your proposed solution is going in the right direction.
- Select the right team based on your content and not on their availability – if the presentation is important enough to do then it’s important enough for the right people to be there. Ensure that everyone plays an equal role and that everyone knows the roles they’re supposed to play.
- Practice, rehearse and practice again – I recommend you ask an independent observer to sit in on the early practice runs as they can point out the obvious (wood for trees!).
- Get an independent specialist to get post presentation feedback, both positive and negative, whether you’ve won or lost.