First, let’s review the basic steps to getting good at presenting:
- KNOW there are no born speakers, only those who have refined their skills.
- Identify the skills to get good at.
- Identify when you do one of those things correctly versus when not done correctly.
- Do the correct behavior continually until you don’t even have to think about it.
An Adjustment to a Common Phrase
Many people new at presenting think that the quality of a presenter is based on what he or she is saying. This is true to a degree, but there are MANY other things that make up a great presenter or a great presentation. We’ve all heard the phrase, “It’s not what you say but how you say it.” I don’t know who said that first and in what context they said it, but I have found that both “what you say” and “how you say it” are equally important.
Every subject you take up to study has a fundamental aspect that everything else is built on. The fundamental aspect that all of presenting is built upon are the 10 Communication Qualities.
When you read the content below, make sure you’re thinking of all audiences. Meaning, don’t think I’m talking about just a one-on-one or just an in-home audience or an audience of thousands. Because what I’m going to share with you should be done in EVERY presentation you do.
Those who have studied Professional Inviter will be familiar with what I’m going to share – but don’t think it’s exactly the same. The 10 Communication Qualities are applied a little differently in presenting.
The very first thing you need to get good at and take notice of when you do it correctly versus when you don’t do it correctly is:
Be Interested in Your Audience; Don’t Try to Be Interesting to Them
A presenter who is truly interested in his prospect ONLY presents things that are valuable to the prospect. Whatever is presented must be relevant to the prospect. Relevant means, having to do with. Having to do with what? The prospect!
You might think that the fact that your company’s compensation plan pays out 60% is valuable to the prospect…why? Because it’s valuable to you – in fact you can’t think of anything more important than that!
Allow me to tell you a quick story related to this. I sent out an emailed survey asking people a few questions as I wanted their feedback as to what content I should train on in “Professional Presenter” when I was developing it.
One of the questions I asked was “Think back to the last few presentations you’ve done that were unsuccessful. What went wrong?” One of the responses was a classic example of being interesting versus being interested:
“I showed her the whole picture, the industry, the company, the products, and how a person got paid, and then she said, ‘I thought this was going to be more about the products – not how you make money.’ I couldn’t think about selling anything that I haven’t yet tried.”
The presenter had not actually found out what her prospects interests were because the presenter was too busy being interested in herself and what she was doing to actually become interested in the prospect and learning what she wanted and needed.
The Big Picture
Don’t think I showed that to you so you will start presenting the products more than the business – because I have seen the exact reverse situation where the emphasis was on the product – but the prospect only cared about the money. The reason I showed that to you is for you to see that the whole picture as the presenter described it – was NOT the whole picture for that prospect. The prospect’s whole picture was the product.
So a simple qualifying question like, “In making a decision about a business, what’s most important to you?” would have prevented this disaster. To the simple qualifying question, the prospect probably would have replied something like, “I can’t sell any product I don’t like.” Thank you – NOW you present what’s interesting to the prospect. When you present what’s interesting to the prospect you are proving you’re interested in the prospect.
When you’re presenting one-on-one, you would only present things that are relevant to that person. So first you present what you know they’re interested in.
Sometimes you’re presenting something where the prospect has no idea about it and you have to educate them enough so that they can determine what they’re interested in (I’ll discuss this in detail on the conference call). This is what I call “testing a topic.”
After giving the prospect an overview of your business or product, then you can test a topic – in the form of a question – and see if they have an interest in it. If not, don’t discuss it any more. As an example, after discussing the product you can ask, “Do the margins you can make on selling the product have any interest to you?” If they reply, “Not really,” then you DON’T discuss the compensation plan – no matter how well you know it or how much you love talking about it!
Presenting to an Audience
When presenting to an audience of people, you present what is relevant to the majority of the people in the room. As an example, if you have 70 people in the room and one of those is a doctor – don’t adjust your content so your whole presentation is directed to the doctor!
How would you know what is relevant to an audience? Well, you’d ask them. Walk around before the event starts and talk to people. Obviously this doesn’t change your PowerPoint slides – but it does give you the relevant information to transform your “interesting” information into something valuable to the prospect.