6 tips to present your company effectively
Presenting your company, either through an actual slide presentation or giving a talk at an event, initial client meeting or pitch, or even one on one with a business contact, is probably one of the hardest things to do really well and really effectively. I hope to give you a few ideas and insights to help you achieve a more effective presentation and to achieve better results.
There are two primary reasons why presenting is difficult:
- As you work for the company, are involved in it’s running and operations, it is difficult to ‘step out’ of that mindset and see what would work for those outside.
- It involves a degree of skill that not everyone has, and seems easier for the more gregarious or outgoing of us
There are many ways to tackle these, but I would first like to look at the different issues that are the underlying causes of these two barriers to effectiveness. If these are addressed, the difficulties will suddenly seem very minor.
Tip 1: take a view from the outside in
do you know how your customers see you? Seems a silly question, but if you can get some feedback on what you do well, and what you don’t do well (or don’t communicate well) you will not only have some confidence presenting the strengths of your company (and know to avoid stressing weaknesses), but have some testimonials and stories to back it up (of course if you have a clear brand proposition this won’t be a problem)
Tip 2: a glimpse of your future
If there is a clear strategic vision for the company, what product/service pipeline will lead to exiting developments in the future, what are the key markets you want to win over, it is easy to develop and inspiring message that doesn’t just deal with the hear and now, but stresses your direction and proactive attitude
Tip 3: keep it simple
A small amount of time defining the following will save a lot of time later, and potentially save the audience’s time listening to stuff they’re not interested in
- who are the audience – why do they come to the event, how much technical knowledge do they have, what are their expectations (‘takeaway’ information, insights, insider knowledge etc)
- what reaction do you want – more business, high profile, connections, inquiries etc. Make it easy for people to react in the right way (provide the lowest possible barrier to actually ‘do something’ or ‘decide something’ after or during your presentation)
- do you want them to look at the screen/information/brochure or at you? What sort of visual aid should you create that is a simple illustration of what you are saying? Give them the ‘real’ info to takeaway at the end, and perhaps leave some out so they have to contact you to find out more
Tip 4: practice
Pretty obvious really, but the best way to get the best result is practice. If your visual aids are simple, try practising by talking over them after finishing your draft notes and getting colleagues or friends to comment. I’ve often been guilty of not doing this in the past, but I’ve found it make the biggest difference.
Tip 5: tell a story
If you can thread a story or theme through your presentation, pitch or meeting, it makes it so much easier for your audience to follow and be engaged. Not always easy to do, but you could put it in the context of the development of the company (“when we set up the company to solve problem x, we realised we had the capability to solve problem y as well”) or a metaphor that can be linked to the visual aid you are using (“if you think of us as a lunchbox – everything in one place, able to dip into when you need to at the right time”).
Tip 6: get action and reaction
You should be confident enough in your field to be able to take questions and provoke or ask for comment. You should also allow a ‘reaction’ to your presentation to continue afterwards – an email link, a brochure of leaflet with how to get in touch, a way to collect emails to send the presentation details to the audience members, a social media platform where the discussion can continue and you can continue to engage and ‘draw people in’ to the discussions you want to have.
Of course there are many elements to the issues I’ve discussed, and potentially many skills you need to execute them well, but simply thinking about these points as you prepare should give you the confidence and focus to achieve more from meeting your audience than simply following an ‘infotainment’ or information based approach.
Hopefully this is useful for you. We would love to hear any other tips or suggestions that you have found effective.