Sun 07 Apr 2013

Presenting - outside the box Home Subscribe Email Print

Written by Richard Matthews. Categories: Presentation tips Tags:

It constantly surprises me how often I meet people who think that presentations are typically about two things:

  1. Going through an elaborately designed, probably overlong, series of Powerpoint slides
  2. Taking questions at the end

On that basis, so they tell me, they don't actually "do" presentations, since they don't work in the traditional corporate sector, or they get their business through meeting and getting to know people at networking events.

This is a head in the sand mindset.

In actual fact, standing up at a networking event to introduce yourself is a mini-presentation.  And the product is you.

I've recently been working with a global organization, specifically with some of their newest intake.  Really bright people.  But it hadn't occurred to some of them that the simple fact of walking into a room, shaking hands with a prospective client, and making a brief introduction about themselves and what they can offer is actually a presentation. The audience may only be one. There may be no overhead projectors in sight.  There will almost certainly be no handouts. But it's still a presentation!  If I am on the receiving end of this type of introduction, I'm looking at body language, eye contact, vocal clarity, whether the person is relaxed or tense, if they are well groomed, can they use humour successfully and - do I like them?  If the score on these counts is low, there's little point the person saying "let me just get out my Powerpoint slides".

A poor introduction will heavily influence prospective clients. We present far more than we realise. So think outside the box and of your "introduction" as the first stage of your presentation.  Decisions to engage are made in seconds.  And you might have just blown your chance.