Today, John talks about a subject that’s really close to his heart and one that’s a real challenge for most small business owners – on how to build better presentations to build your business.

THE NINE PITFALLS OF BUSINESS PRESENTATION

1. Unclear thinking – If you can’t describe what you’re talking about in one sentence, you may be guilty of fuzzy focus or trying to cover too many topics

2. No clear structure –  Start with a strong opening related to your premise. State your premise. List the rationales or points of wisdom that support your premise, and then use a strong close.

3. No memorable stories – People rarely remember your exact words, instead, they remember the mental images that your words inspire

4. No emotional connection – The most powerful connection combines both intellectual and emotional connections, and answering their unspoken question which is usually, “What’s in this for me?”

5. Wrong level of abstraction – Were your listeners actually hungry for details, facts and specific how-to’s or were you drowning them with data when they need to position themselves with an overview and find out why they should they care.

6. No Pauses – Good music and good communication both contain changes of pace, pauses and full rests. This gives the audience a chance to think about what you said and to internalize it.

7. Irritating non-words – Umm, uhh, errr, ehh – you know what I mean! Record yourself to check for similar bad verbal habits.

8. Misusing technology – Any visual aid has to be just that. It’s an aid in a visual sense. Make technology a support to your message, not a crutch.

9. Not having a strong opening and closing – Get your audience hooked immediately with a taste of what’s to follow. Deliver a dynamic closing, preferably one that ties you back to your opening theme, and has your prospects wanting to sign up for your next presentation.

When you can avoid these nine common pitfalls, you’ll be free to focus on your message, and on your audience, making you a more powerful, dynamic and persuasive communicator.

THANKS FOR LISTENING!

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TRANSCRIPT: PODCAST EPISODE 8

Title: Build Better Presentations To Build Your Business

Date Published: August 12, 2015

Running Time: 07:25 minutes

Hi, this is John Millar, and I’m the Naked Business Coach, stripping business back to the bare basics. Today we’re going to be talking about a subject that’s really close to my heart, and one that’s a real challenge for most small business owners – on how to build better presentations to build your business.

Now, let me give you this as a scenario: You get up to speak. Everyone there needs to hear what you’ve got to say, but within ten minutes, you’re either hopelessly confused or they’re falling asleep. What is a presenter doing wrong?

Any presenter who sets out to present, persuade and propel the spoken word faces nine (9) major pitfalls.

First, unclear thinking. If you can’t describe what you’re talking about in one sentence, you may be guilty of fuzzy focus or trying to cover too many topics. Your listeners will probably be confused too, and their attention will soon wander. Whether your improving your own skills, or helping someone else to create a presentation, the biggest and most difficult challenge is to start with a one sentence premise or objective.

Number two. You don’t have a clear structure. Make it easy for people to follow what you’re saying. They’ll remember it better and you will too as you deliver your information and ideas. If you woffle, ramble or never get to the point, you’re listeners will tune out. Start with a strong opening related to your premise. State your premise. List the rationales or points of wisdom that support your premise, supporting each with examples, stories, statistics, metaphors and case histories. Review what you’ve covered, take questions if appropriate, and then use a strong close.

Three. No memorable stories. People rarely remember your exact words, instead, they remember the mental images that your words inspire. Support your key words with vivid, relevant stories. Help your listeners to make the movie in their heads by using memorable characters, engaging situations, dialogues, suspense, drama and humor. In fact, if you can open with a highly visual image, dramatic or amusing but not a joke that supports your point, you’ve got them hooked. Then tie your closing back to the opening scene. They’ll never forget it.

Number four, you don’t have any emotional connection. The most powerful connection combines both intellectual and emotional connections. Intellectual means appealing to educated self-interest with data and reasoned arguments. Emotional comes from engaging the listeners imaginations, involving them in your illustrative stories and by answering their unspoken question which is usually, “What’s in this for me?”

Here’s what we call high IU ratio. For example, NOT “I’m going to talk to you about the average customer sale.” but “You’re going to learn the latest trends in improving your average customer sale.” You’ve pulled the listener right into the story.

Number five. Wrong level of abstraction. Are you providing the big picture and generalities? The sort of pep talk. Were your listeners actually hungry for details, facts and specific how-to’s or were you drowning them with data when they need to position themselves with an overview and find out why they should they care. Give them the same wavelength as with your listeners.

Number six. No Pauses. Good music and good communication both contain changes of pace, pauses and full rests. This is when listeners think about what is being said. if you just rush on at full speed to crowd in as much information as possible – and generally this is a challenge for newer presenters – chances are that you’ve left your listeners somewhere back at the station. It’s okay to talk quickly but pause whenever you say something profound or provocative, or when you ask a rhetorical question. This gives the audience a chance to think about what you said and to internalize it.

Number seven. One of my pet hates. Its irritating non-words. Umm, uhh, errr, ehh – you know what I mean. One speaker I heard began each new thought with “Now…” as he scanned his notes to figure out what actually came next. This may be okay occasionally but not every thirty seconds. Record yourself to check for similar bad verbal habits. Then keep taping yourself, redelivering the same material until such audience aggravators have disappeared and vanished forever.

Misusing technology is number eight. Without a doubt, audio and visual has created a showbiz quality to our presentations. However, just because it’s available doesn’t mean you have to use it. Timid speakers who simply narrate flipcharts, images, slides, videos, or overheads, or actually view graphs can really be passionate and effective. Any visual aid has to be just that. It’s an aid in a visual sense. Even the best PowerPoint presentations and images will not connect with most people emotionally. Use strong stories instead if at all possible. Never repeat just what’s on the slides. If you do, one of you are redundant. And it’s probably YOU! Make technology a support to your message, not a crutch.

Number nine. Not having a strong opening and closing. Engage your audience immediately with a powerful, relevant opening that has a high IU factor. It can be dramatic, thought provoking and even amusing but never open with a joke unless you’re a humorist with original materials. Get your audience hooked immediately with a taste of what’s to follow. And never close by asking for questions.

Yes, take questions if appropriate but then go on to deliver your dynamic closing. Preferably one that ties you back to your opening theme, and has your prospects wanting to sign up for your next presentation.

Last words linger. As with a great musical, you want your audience walking out afterwards humming the tunes.

When you can avoid these nine common pitfalls, you’ll be free to focus on your message, and on your audience, making you a more powerful, dynamic and persuasive communicator. And that’s precisely what we want.

Thanks so much. This has been John Millar, the Naked Business Coach, stripping business back to its bare basics, giving you a brief lesson in the nine tips to avoid to make sure that you give better presentations to build your business.

I look forward to seeing you on our next episode.

John Millar

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