These days with so many tools available on the internet it is a prerequisite in the business world that you have the ability to prepare and then make a great presentation. However, you would be surprised at the number of people that despite being highly educated have no idea where to start.
You wouldn’t go to a job interview unprepared so why on earth would you make a business presentation without doing your homework? Here we are going to take a look at why planning for a presentation is so important.
To know who your audience is
If you don’t plan for a particular audience how will you be able to give a presentation that achieves what you set out to achieve? Business executives are incredibly busy people and if you turn up to make a presentation about your business, or the products that you sell, and are unprepared they will immediately turn off, and most likely will leave the meeting with a terribly bad impression of you and your firm.
You need to understand exactly what you are selling and why your audience needs it. This will allow you to develop your pitch so that you have the best possible chance of leaving with a positive result.
To prepare the correct content
Once you know who your audience is, it is paramount that you prepare the content of your pitch as precisely as possible. There is no point peddling half-truths, you must deliver facts or you will be found out. Why does your audience want your product? If you cannot answer this then there is no point giving your presentation as you won’t be able to sell anything.
Switch roles in your head and ask yourself what you would be expecting if someone tried to sell their company to you. Once you understand this then you can prepare accordingly, and hopefully, win their business.
To deliver in the most efficient manner
It is not only good enough to have prepared for the audience and the content, you also need to prepare for how you are going to make your presentation. You need to immediately captivate your audience or they will switch off and the way you deliver your message is key. Will you use PowerPoint as a tool, or present using a pen and flipchart? What about video downloads, are you aware that you may have to convert video files for use offline? All these things need to be thought about in advance so that you don’t make a mess of your opportunity.
To present coherently
Without preparation, there is no way that you are going to be able to present in a clear and coherent manner. There is no point sticking up slides every two minutes each with ten bullet points on them because you won’t engage your listener.
Understand the frequency that you want to pull up the slides as they should not feel rushed, but fit naturally with your words. Your slides or flipchart should also not be the center of the presentation, that should be you and your content, the slides are just there to reinforce ideas. So, use them sparingly, and in a clear and coherent manner and then you will hold the attention of your audience for longer increasing the chances of your presentation being a success.
To present in a timely manner
It is important to have practiced your presentation several times so that you know how long it will take. There is nothing worse than sitting in front of somebody droning on and on about something as you will tune out and be thinking about a beer after work rather than the point they are trying to bring across.
Never ever run over the allotted time, it has been given to you for a reason and your audience may need to leave and you don’t want them to without hearing all of your pitch. If possible you should try and leave time for a question and answer session as you will be able to address any salient points there and then, rather than going through the process at a later date via email or over the phone.
As we have discovered there are many reasons why it is necessary to plan ahead for a presentation. First, you must understand who your audience actually is and exactly what they want, as there is no point trying to sell sand to an Arab, and then you must tailor the content to them accordingly.
Practice your presentation so that it is efficient and coherent and don’t rely on your props too much, and finally don’t drone on or you will bore the listeners and struggle to get what you came for.