There are thirteen expert tips you need to know as an entrepreneur preparing to present a powerful business presentation.
Business presentations are more than glitz and glamour. Today’s investors want concise yet meaty presentations.
They want an interactive, user-friendly informational meeting that helps them make a decision quickly.
The audience may be banking executives, venture capitalists, management professionals, or potential customers.
The first impression is what counts, and that impression should be indelible.
The occasion should not be a nightmare for you, the presenter.
If you are not enjoying yourself, the audience isn’t either. Some business professionals clamor at the mere thought of presenting, but this is only a conduit for growth. How can your business idea grow if you don’t share it with others?
For those who are developing as presenters, below are thirteen tips that will help take your presentations to the next level.
1. KNOW YOUR MATERIAL
Have you ever heard of the acronym S.M.E.? It stands for Subject Matter Expert – this is your business, and no one should know it better than you.
Therefore be competent. As an entrepreneur, you must know everything about your business. The idea must roll off your tongue like a flowing river.
Using visual aids, note cards, and slides is ideal for optimizing information sharing. Investors want to see what you are saying.
Remember Show-and-Tell in kindergarten? Well, it works wonders in business.
Show the information as you are telling it. Convey knowledge on slides for the best result, use charts, images, bullet points, and video clips.
While tools are necessary, remember they are tools – they are not you. They cannot replace you.
They cannot communicate what you can communicate. Therefore, use them as reference points. They are not the main event.
Use data to support every point on your slides. You may want to add footnotes at the bottom, but this is not necessary. You want your presentation to be respectable – this will inspire confidence in you and your business.
Finally, be comfortable with yourself. Stand firm, walk if possible, and share what has so intrigued you about your business.
2. BE ENTHUSIASTIC
Get excited about your business and let others see it. It is contagious.
If you are excited, your presentation will be exciting. No investor wants to sit through a dreary presentation.
They want to know why you are before them and what fuels you. That fuel is exciting about your business.
Let your passion come through.
Body language communicates passion more than words. Your eyes, hand gestures, and gait, coupled with your voice tone, will tell the truth about your heart and the business.
Do you love the company?
Do you believe in the mission?
Investors will know once you begin speaking. Presenting in front of a crowd or just a few should be an event for which you prepare.
That’s right, you must practice for the big day.
Clear your mind of distracting thoughts. Some people listen to classical music, while others read inspirational quotes.
Some entrepreneurs sit in a dark room and breathe deeply. These exercises prepare you both physically and mentally. You will be ready, and you will succeed.
3. ARRIVE EARLY TO SET UP
Get to the presentation room early.
You do not want to walk into space for the first time and present without spending a few moments in that room while it is empty.
Of course, you’ll need to set up your presentation tools and make sure you do a soundcheck. Prevent technology problems by setting up early.
If audio-visual equipment is made available for you, practice using it.
Since it is usually not yours, you will want to know how to operate it effectively. Smooth presentations happen when the presenter is familiar with the equipment.
Lastly, make sure nothing is blocking you from the audience. If so, make adjustments.
Ask maintenance to help you with this. If you cannot remove the impediment, figure out a game plan to make it work for you.
4. OPEN STRONG
The first thing out of your mouth sets the tone. It leaves a lasting impression. It will also be the thing that prompts the audience to listen further to your presentation. So, start with a bang.
Some great starters include:
- Appropriate jokes that fit your subject matter.
- Inspiring quotes that capture the mind.
- A perplexing question or one that everyone longs to have answered.
- Lyrics to a popular song that can easily be associated with your business.
- Interesting images or popular ones.
- A video that captures evokes an emotional response.
Reassure your audience that you are in control by saying, “I know what you may be thinking…” or “Are you a bit perplexed? No worries, I’m taking you somewhere. Stay with me, folks.”
First impressions mean everything.
By drawing an audience into your presentation, you will build trust as you take them from one point to the next.
Guided journeys are something people love.
5. SET GOALS FOR YOUR BUSINESS PRESENTATION
From the outset, provide your audience with objectives. These objectives are milestones that give the audience a framework.
While audiences like being surprised, they do not like journeying with you without a roadmap.
They want to know where your presentation is going from the beginning. Achieving objectives will make your audience feel a sense of accomplishment.
You have used your time wisely. Investors and other professionals want to feel that being at your presentation brought them some achievement.
When they have a sense of accomplishment, they will more than likely become emotionally and mentally invested in your concept.
An invested group of people makes the Question and Answer session emotionally and mentally engaging.
They will all want their questions answered. They will want to probe deeper. They will like to learn more and as they learn you earn.
6. TELL A STORY
Facts and figures are essential, but any high-performing sales professional will tell you stories to sell.
People want to know the story behind the numbers. How do these numbers translate? Who is representative of your statistics? Where are the people?
By nature, most people are rather nosy – this is why the Biography Channel is such a success.
We all want to know someone’s life story. We want the inside scoop. The same applies in business.
Investors want to know who will be affected by their investment. They want to know how your business improves the lives of others.
Making a profit is great, but making a profit by solving a problem is rewarding and enduring.
Tell the story straight.
Use a name, a place, weather, and emotions to set the tone. Many presenters use the catchphrase, “Picture it…”.
People like to have images painted upon the canvases of their minds. Paint a picture.
Once you have painted the picture, end the story quickly.
It’s just a story, not a sitcom or a major motion picture – concise is right.
7. INTERACT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Reality TV has transformed the American experience. No longer is it enough to sit and watch, but viewers want to vote for you or against you.
They want to be involved in the show.
During your business presentation, get the audience involved – this is simple yet demands thoughtfulness.
- Use a game
- Use interactive software
- Good ole’ fashioned paper and pen
Whatever you do, make sure it fits your style and content. Allow the audience to participate, and what the audience does will cement the information.
Interaction is yet another way of painting upon the mental canvas of the listener.
8. ADD SOME BUSINESS-FRIENDLY HUMOR
If the presentation is rather lengthy, make sure it is pleasantly funny.
Keep your tone professionally light. You do not want to speak in long sentences as this fatigues an audience.
Share as you would with a friend. Remember, if you are enjoying the presentation, so will your audience.
Make light jokes but not inappropriate jokes. Be professional. You are an entrepreneur seeking investors. Do not dissuade them with a tasteless wisecrack. You will look foolish and depart empty-handed.
9. MAKE STARTLING STATEMENTS
Nothing beats a good shock – this is what makes suspense movies so enthralling. So, make some shocking statements to keep the attention of your audience.
Do not be afraid to challenge the established beliefs associated with the data set surrounding your business. You are presenting because you have found a novel idea to address a problem. Sometimes that problem is old, but it is still a problem. Be bold, tactful, and shock them.
10. REMEMBER THE 10-20-30 RULE
Many professionals employ the 10-20-30 rule when presenting. It’s simple, effective, and ensures things do not get boring.
- 10 – the number of slides used in a presentation. If you can’t get your points across in 10 slides, you do not know your information as well as you think. Remember, this is not a dissertation. It’s a concise business presentation. If done well, you’ll get many other opportunities to dive deeply. The slides should be inclusive of:
- Your solution
- Business model
- Underlying magic/technology
- Marketing and sales
- Projections and milestones
- Status and timeline
- Summary and call to action
- 20 – the number of minutes you should use. Sorry, but you do not need an hour. Who has that kind of time? No. 20 minutes is sufficient to engage an audience and spark interest with detailed but concisely shared information. After 20 minutes, your audience is thinking about something else and looking for a near exit.
- 30 – this is the font size. Make the letters large enough for the lady in the rear of the room to see. Any smaller people will have to strain to see. People do not like to strain their eyes and will quickly pivot to other work. So, make the letters large enough to see.
11. MAKE EYE CONTACT AND SMILE
Looking toward the floor and talking to your feet won’t engage the audience. Investors want to know you see them.
Look at your audience.
If you are nervous, you may look just above their heads, but do not fear looking at people.
Eye contact is a confident move in presentations. Speak to all of the audience, but personally address certain people as if they were the entire audience.
The proper strategies will draw everyone into your presentation.
With an open hand, extend it to others as you speak. Body language conveys an offer, a suggestion, and a gift.
When you look at the audience and make eye contact with specific people, your presentation moves from a large-scale event to a personal one.
The audience will depart feeling as if you spoke directly to them as an individual – this is memorable.
12. PREPARATION FOR TOUGH QUESTIONS
You want an engaging, rigorous Question and Answer session. But, you better get ready for the tough questions.
Truthfully, you should already know what the tough questions will be. You should anticipate them.
Your study of the business should have been an incubator for all the tricky points.
You will gain trust if you can answer these questions honestly.
If you are yet exploring various solutions, share that information. You need not know the answer to everything, as no one person does.
However, you better understand the response to most things
13. CLOSE ON A HIGH
After the Question and Answer session is complete, close your presentation on a high. Accomplish this in various ways:
- If you played a game throughout, declare a winner and give an inexpensive prize.
- If your presentation began with a story, conclude the story. No cliffhangers.
- If you started with an inspiring quote that was ideal to begin, close with one ideal for finishing.
Investors should leave your presentation feeling as if it was a good use of their time. They should have learned something, been adequately challenged in their thinking, and be intrigued to learn more.
THE BIG IDEA FOR DELIVERING THE PERFECT PITCH
Behind every excellent presentation is a lot of hard work and preparation. Great presentations do not happen overnight. Great presentations are organized, objective-driven, intriguing, insightful, and engaging. It is not the visuals that achieve this. It has a lot to do with your delivery style.
It would help if you were organized, objective-driven, intriguing, insightful, and engaging. The best way for you to do this is to be yourself.
Do not morph into some stage character when it is time to present. The audience will know this is not your authentic self, and the entire presentation will be weird.
You have the business idea; you have the process efficiently calculated; this is your business.
You are more than good enough to present it. The reality is, no one can do what you can when it comes to your business.
Pitch Masters seeks to provide entrepreneurs like yourself with valuable information to make your business a success.
Regardless of the type of business you operate, Pitch Masters can help you present it in such a way that your authentic self shines through.
Contact the Pitch Masters Academy today for more valuable information about how to gain the capital needed to launch your big idea.