Presentation Skills

Having strong presentation skills and the ability to speak confidently in public is very useful in both business and life, but the the sales professional it is one of the most versatile tools in your arsenal. By developing the confidence to step up and speak in front of large crowds of people, decision makers at the highest level and entertaining an audience could very well be the most valuable asset you have when it comes to negotiation, closing sales and being able to compete against your rival businesses.

Presentations can be delivered in a variety of different ways, from spoken presentations, to visual multimedia presentations and everything in between. This free presentation skills article will cover some of the most fundamental presentation techniques used to deliver well every time you have to pitch to a client.

Basic Presentation Tips

Before you can deliver a strong presentation you need to have preparation and knowledge. Combined with confidence and control of the presentation you will deliver time and time again. Here are a number of presentation skills that you can use and learn from:

  • Entertain people. It’s not enough to just get your message across and ignore the audience you are boring. People retain more information if they are relaxed and enjoying themselves. You don’t need to be a standup comedian to inject a little entertainment into even the driest of subjects and if you can keep the audience engaged and entertained then you make yourself an asset that can be used in the negotiation stage of the sale.
  • Make a good first impression. The same could be said for whenever you meet a client or prospect but when presenting always remember there may be people in the room you haven’t met before and you have 4-7 seconds to have a positive impact. Rehearse and practice your introduction until you can’t take it anymore. When your delivery is natural and comfortable you will easily build your credibility and ensure a safe environment for your audience to relax.
  • Use visual aids. When presenting, more information can be successfully passed to the audience through visual than any other method. By using pictures, graphs, tables and other props your audience will take in 55% of the information instead of a lower 38% if you just speak.
  • Ditch bullet points. If you use bullet points on slides, then get rid of them. Studies have shown that after 3 days only 10% of the information in bullet points is returned. When you compare that to 50% that is retained using visual aids then you can see that a picture really does speak a thousand words!
  • Achieve objectives. As a salesperson, you have certain objectives that you want to achieve from your presentation. Visual aids give you a 67% chance of doing that, compared to 33% for bullet points. Display as much of the sales/saving/value information as you can in visual forms and you are guaranteed to improve your sales conversions.
  • Rehearse out loud. Remember that old adage, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”? Well the same goes for your presentation skills. Practice your entire presentation at the very least 5 or 6 times to ensure you nail it. Do a trial run in front of colleagues and get their feedback on how well you did.
  • Rehearse against the clock. If you only have a short time to deliver your presentation, then make sure you are rehearsing in a timed environment to ensure it fits in the time space without seeming rushed or unprofessional.
  • Record yourself. Next time you practice your presentation, record in on video and watch it back. This is one of the best ways to see how you are delivering and make sure your body language, mannerisms and stage presence are all spot on before your presentation happens.
  • Use the rule of 3. People can normally only remember 3 things. Tailor your presentation to this by planning in advance exactly what three things you want them to take from you. Also plan out your presentation into three parts: introduction, main content and conclusion. Finally, use lists of three to make content easier to digest. Take a leaf out of advertisers and politicians who use the rule of three all the time to make you retain information or sell you something. E.g. (when discussing property) Location, location, location.
  • Less is more. If you have four points or more, then get rid of them. Presentation is about keeping it simple and avoiding boredom so cut the clutter and stick to the rule of three. No one ever complained that a presentation was too short.

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