The Presentation Excellence Group spends substantial time helping CEOs and other executives evaluate outcome and process measures to increase the effectiveness of leadership, alignment of staff with key cultural values and corporate mission, execution of strategy, etc. People responsible for the development and delivery of presentations should also judge their effectiveness.
For instance, many of the people who come to us for presentation skills improvement, judge themselves to be the problem and are prepared to do whatever it takes to address it. Upon closer analysis, we discover that they work harder-than-necessary to overcome weaknesses inherent in their presentation material. As a result of this shift in attention, they lose confidence in their delivery skills and don’t spend as much time focusing on really understanding clients’ needs and delivery a presentation that resonates with the audience.
Accordingly, we thought we’d share a few areas that presentation teams might want to evaluate and then improve in order to deliver more presentations producing the desired impact.
- Sell the Product/Service. If the goal was to sell the audience on buying a product/service/idea and they took the specific actions after your presentation, then you succeeded. As noted on our website, Presentation Excellence was started when a company, with a 92% closing rate, called to find out how its presentations could be improved.
- A Compelling Argument. Was the case you presented a solid, powerful slam-dunk or was confusing, unpersuasive and weak? How persuasively did you present it? Did you leave them convinced about the wisdom of their decision, ambivalent or so hesitant that they asked for more time and information before making the decision?
- Positive Relationship Attitudes. The manner in which you positioned your personal expertise, the company’s experiences and the nature of the relationships with buyers in general will affect how they perceive you going forward and their willingness to work with you. Some dimensions that might apply include:
- How does the buyer perceive you in terms of your competence and confidence?
- What’s the nature of the relationship between your firm and the buyer’s when the deal closed? Are you now an Approved Vendor, a Preferred Supplier, a Solutions Consultant, a Strategic Contributor, or a Trusted Partner? Clearly the difference between these options will have a dramatic impact on how the client treats you at delivery the goods and afterwards. It also affects referral rates. In other words, winning isn’t everything!
- Efficient Use of Preparation Resources. How much time and energy – by you and others – went into producing the presentation? Is it acceptable? Could less time and effort been used by more effectively organizing and centralizing the material, such as pictures, graphics, charts, etc. Would templates have made the situation easier?
- High Presenter Confidence. How did the presenter feel as a result of drafting and finalizing material? Did he/she feel it was a compelling case that he/she could confidently and competently present? Could templates be customized easily to meet the client’s unique needs or was he/she forced to use a canned presentation which meant compromising on power and effectiveness?
- Effective Use of Context and Media. Did the presentation take place at a time and place which were conducive to effective decision-making, or were they distractive and even counterproductive (e.g., after lunch meetings in uncomfortably hot rooms). Was the medium (e.g., large room, small room, virtual) conducive to quality interactions and Q&A?