Preparations For C-Level Presentations Make Perfect

Your final test to win contracts is your presentation. How professional you look based on what needs to be heard will determine your success or failure. Remember these voters want what they want – not what you think they should want. They also want no risk and maximum gain. Therefore you’ve got to be believable and on target. Confidence exudes believability and the best way to become confident is to rehearse. So here is the best way to put your presentation together.

1st Rehearsals:

Plan on rehearsing your presentation 4 times. Start your 1st practice session with introductions of your participants and bystanders. Decide on their seating arrangement. Everyone does their own introduction using numbers, names and details to describe themselves in 25 words or less.

Focus your talking points on what the audience wants and how you can deliver it without problems. Practice the wording you’ll use. Be sure the slides match. Keep the slides simple and explain the details. Again, be sure to address the concerns of the panel, their bosses and the spec – not what you think the concerns and spec should be.

Review red flags and possible concerns with your team of attendees and non-attending bosses. How will these be handled, addressed, or avoided?

Questions and Answers

Brainstorm any questions that could be asked. Who will ask them? Decide how each will be answered and by whom. Then role play. Ask questions buyers might ask and actually answer them as if it were for real. Critique and adjust your answers accordingly. Then practice the wording again. Remember it is all about saying the right things in the right way under pressure and this skill requires practice.

Questions and Answers Tips

When a question is asked, give it a moment before you jump on the answer. Practice pausing during Q&A rehearsals.

Decide in advance who will answer what types of questions. However, the leader fields the question and hands it off accordingly.

Be sure you understand the question before answering. Don’t assume you know what is meant. When in any doubt, ask for clarification. For example, someone asks about timely service. This is ambiguous because timely is a relative and personal concept. So ask that person, “Please explain what you mean by timely service.” Or “What’s your vision of timely service?.” It’s OK to ask for clarification or meanings.

After answering the question, get feedback from the asker. I like to say, “How do you feel about what I just said?” Some people are uncomfortable saying this. If you are, you might say, “How did my answers satisfy your concern?” Many people will say, “Did I answer your question?” This draws a yes or no which isn’t much feedback. Try to keep them open-ended using the words how or tell me about or explain.

If the questioner looks perplexed or concerned, it’s also okay to say, “You seem concerned / confused with my answer. Please explain your concern.” All of these are okay to say, no matter how formal or regimented the presentation setting. If you’re out-of-line, they’ll tell you, or refuse to answer. Don’t worry, it doesn’t look badly. It looks professional and it looks like you are being thorough.

Typically, if you ask, people will give you a lot of feedback – not only on how well you address their concern, but what’s really on their minds. This is powerful stuff, but you have to have the confidence to set it up. That’s why you have to practice.

After one person answers the question, be careful of the pile-on effect where another person then jumps in and then another, etc. The leader should manage this until s/he is satisfied the audience is satisfied. In other words, no one speaks without the leader’s permission. This keeps order and shows that the leader is in control of the team.

Be sure you role play any possible questions that could be asked. Get feedback on the answers and redo them until they sound convincing.

The Wrap-Up

This is your final attempt to instill the feeling of confidence that you are the contractor or vendor for this project. Be sure to summarize your understanding of the project. Be sure to show you know the impact it has on the company or the environments or the community. Be sure to summarize how you’ve done similar work for similar companies or agencies and how these experiences will help you successfully complete this project. Most importantly, readdress your ability to deliver each person’s personal desires, such as on-time for Joe, under budget for Mary, no community complaints for the Commissioner, easy to work with for the Engineering Manager, etc.

Finally explained to the audience why you and your company wants this project and what efforts, investments, and resources you’ve made available or will use to make this project a success for your audience, their constituents, and your company. They must know that you really want this and this project has got your company’s full attention. The impact to the audience is, you really want this job. Do not give the impression you really need this job. That makes you sound desperate.

Use references and suggest their willingness to speak with the committee if desired. I like to say, “ABC and XYZ had similar projects completed by us and John Smith and Mary Adams have been notified that you may be calling them.” Most importantly, be passionate with your wrap-up. This will leave a lasting and convincing impression.

The End of 1st Rehearsal

After the dry run, decide if your presentation and Q&A won every buyer’s vote? If not redo where necessary.

This 1st rehearsal could take a whole day. But if it takes less, don’t do anymore as it relates to rehearsing for that day. Sleep on it and absorb all the comments before you move into the next rehearsal.

2nd Rehearsals:

Now you want to simulate the real feel so make this a dress rehearsal, but with a catch. Stop on the spot anytime an adjustment or fix is needed. Make suggestions and corrections. Then redo from that spot and continue with the rehearsal.

As the rehearsal progresses, ask yourself, “Is a colorful picture being painted? Is it answering the concerns of the decision-makers? Is it believable? Is it showing competence – minimum risk of failure, maximum chance of success?” Redo sections until correct. This will take a long time (4-5 hours) so plan for it.

Practice the speeches with the actual words over and over again until they sound right.

Do not do formal Q&A on this rehearsal.

3rd Rehearsals:

This rehearsal gets outside feedback. Assemble a panel of your expert people (managers, tech specialist, etc.) that are not part of the presentation team but have been prepped and/or have knowledge of the project and know the voters attending. Assign each to act as a mock panel member – preferably one they know. Ask the panelist to keep notes, but not to interrupt with corrections or suggestions. Also have questions for them to ask and encourage them to ask their own questions. Also ask them to rank the presentation on a form you put together.

Do a full presentation including set-up, entering the room, schmoozing, introductions, Q&A – all with no stopping for adjustment. At the end get feedback and suggestions from panelists. Ask about their ratings and what they’d suggest to make the ratings higher. Redo as necessary.

4th Rehearsal:

This is the final run through. Do a complete presentation without any outsiders. Include set-up, introductions, and presentation – no Q&A. Then review among your team members and sleep on it.

In the next section I’ll show how, to win more business from this proposal and presentation work whether or not you win or lose.

And now I invite you to learn more.

PowerPoint Presentation Slides

PowerPoint presentation slides are an essential approach for business presentations. Microsoft PowerPoint presentation slides include different sorts of info in the form of words and images. It really is vital that you pay attention to how the slides look since they drastically influence the interest of the audience.

A crucial aspect to think about when producing Microsoft PowerPoint presentation slides is how to make use of the existing room effectively. A prevalent error among presenters is placing too much emphasis on the types of illustrations or photos and consequently taking for granted the arrangement of these photos to create a useful presentation. Every detail contained in your Microsoft PowerPoint presentation slides should be connected to the presentation’s theme.

Be certain that all text and illustrations or photos do not distract the target audience from the message you wish to convey. The slides should be properly organized since this could influence the slideshow’s efficacy. A variety of presenters take advantage of features such as images as a way to develop a very good effect for viewers. On the other hand, it is vital that that the illustrations or photos are useful; otherwise, the attempt would probably turn out to be disappointing and superfluous. It is also key that the subject of the slideshow is conveyed clearly. In several instances, presenters apply excessive animation that distracts the crowd. Images must be intended to show up in the appropriate moment, especially when a crucial point is being emphasized by the presenter.

Transition of Microsoft PowerPoint presentation slides must be coherent, but not numerous. A presentation seems far more effectual when slide transitions are well accomplished. Additionally, it can make it easier for your crowd to concentrate on. As a way to correctly make use of custom made animation applications, one must opt for images which are in connection to the fundamental ideas in the PowerPoint presentation in general.

As soon as you begin to create Microsoft PowerPoint-presentation slides, you must take note of the target audience. This will make it much easier for you to generate a slide show that may gratify, and even go beyond, the audience’s expectation. Apply a text font that is uniform all throughout, readable, and appropriate. Avoid giving viewers a difficult time examining what’s in your PowerPoint presentation slides. The main objective of employing the Microsoft PowerPoint application is to lead and reinforce the presenter’s spoken words. Make use of a reasonable quantity slides that are also organized to keep the audience’s interest.

Power Point – 7 Ways to Improve Your Power Point Presentations

Have you got a Power Point mindset that’s comfortable as an old shoe for you but causes your audience to zone out? You can increase your comfort level and excite your audiences with these 7 tips for using Power Point.

1) Stop bullet overload. Two or three short phrases that you bullet are more than enough for any one slide.
TIP: Write phrases that capture the essence of the thought and are easy to read quickly. Then the audience will turn their attention to you for the complete content.

2) Forget the bells and whistles. Flying text, builds, and other slide effects distract from your message. When you use them, you are essentially commanding the audience to get their kicks from the slides rather than from your content. Your audiences are not at the movies or on a video-game console.
TIP: Enhance the business environment and your status by avoiding these effects.

3) Minimize the template. Templates make the graphic designer or the marketing department happy but they distract the audience.
TIP: Create a well-designed cover slide and then use a small piece of that design on each slide to create a sense of the brand without the design repeating over and over.

4) Avoid image only slide decks. Images are attractive but just like anything that’s overdone, a slide deck that is all images loses its appeal. The audience has to figure out what you intend the images to convey, which is extremely tiring.
TIP: Combine images with short text to make it easy for the audience to get your idea-then elaborate with your spoken content.

5) Don’t open with corporate overviews or “why us” slides. The audience easily can get this information online; it delays the “good stuff” or the meaningful content too long, during which time the audience will tune out; and it’s hard for the presenter to talk about.
TIP: Open your deck with a colorful description of the problem that’s on the audience’s mind.

6) Avoid summary slides at the end of your deck. When people hear or read the word ‘summary’ they think “I’ve heard this already” and mentally they move on to the next thing in their day.
TIP: Your closing should be a call-to-action that excites the audience, so they leave thinking “Yes, I’ll do that!”

7) Stop using slides when you don’t need them. Not every bit of your spoken content needs to be covered by a slide. There are times when a blank screen will be astoundingly effective compared with yet another content slide.
TIP: Insert some blank blue slides into your deck at the places when you’re going to tell a story or use a prop or invite audience participation.