Creating a conversation not just a presentation

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When the time comes to recruiting customers, we stress out and spend hours at the local print shop getting the perfect font, folder and paper colours to put together the perfect package.  The idea is that we have to have the polished quality of a major motion picture. In reality, the simple answer is to create a conversation around what we’re doing. People are quicker to jump on board when they feel like part of the process.

 

Plan it out

 

The first step is often the most overlooked. When you develop a plan, you have to start with the end in mind. What is your end goal? You want to recruit new customers. Well, the best way to make sure you meet their expectations and even go beyond is to find out what they’re looking for. Have a conversation before the presentation. Ask them what they’re looking for in a partnership.

 

Power it up

 

Once you have a good idea of what you need to include, it’s time to get on the presentation software of your choice and make those all important slides. Whether it’s PowerPoint, KeyNote, Slides, or some other program, the rules are the same. Keep it short and sweet. Never exceed more than 15 words per slide. Never exceed more than 20 slides in a presentation. Keep everything geared toward audience interaction and feedback. Say less. That way, they won’t lose what you’re saying.

 

Pre-record

 

Video yourself or practice in front of a mirror. This old trick you learned in your public speaking class is still relevant. With the smartphones we carry around everywhere we go, it’s easy to find the time and tools needed to record. See how much talking you do. See how much you pause for audience interaction. Do you have time built in for audience members to talk amongst themselves? How are you going to incorporate the audience’s ideas into your presentation? Think about how to be flexible. Recording will help you work out those details.

 

Pose questions

 

On that same note, make sure you have chances for those audience members to answer. You can allow them to discuss with their neighbour or table group. Then, have the groups share their best responses. Include a big question on every slide or two and you’ll have it built in. Alternatively, have note cards with a few questions you can ask at different times during the presentation. It never hurts to plan for a few of the responses ahead of time either.

 

Once you go through this process a few times, it’ll become natural for you. You’ll find that people don’t see your presentation as another sales pitch. Instead, you’ll get to be viewed as a partner they look forward to working with.

 

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