Over the more than 25 years of providing presentation skills training and services to over 5000 clients, from startups to Fortune 100 executives, I’ve seen a major shift in clients’ focus. Initially, most people weren’t comfortable presenting and “fear-of-public-speaking” was the single largest issue for many. Today, the biggest issue is: “how do I make compelling?” (That’s partly because people are more comfortable presenting and partly because the stakes for winning continue to increase significantly.)
Several years ago, we created the acronym ADAP (Audience-Driven, Authentic Presentations) to help all presenters understand how they could accomplish both simultaneously. Audience-driven means focusing on sharing with clients need to now to make the decisions they need to make. This means understanding “why” they want to meet with you in the first place:
• What’s the challenge they face
• Why is it important to them
• What do they need to know to make an informed decision?
As you can see, by being audience-driven the presenter is total focused on THE CLIENT and not on her/himself. This shift away from thinking about yourself and worrying about how you’re being perceived – leading to less speaking-anxiety. As Barbra Streisand once noted, even today, she’s nervous before every performance; but within 15 seconds, her focus is looking into the eyes of her audience to make sure she’s connecting and has no bandwidth to worry about herself
To be “compelling”, your presentation has to:
• Both rationally and emotionally make your audience confident in the solution and
• Have the experience you as an expert, trusted partner committed to helping them to succeed
This means you need to be an Authentic Presenter. This is much more than simply going beyond selling “features” to addressing the “benefits” of the solution. Selling is “the transfer of enthusiasm” (Brian Tracy); but that doesn’t make the proposition “compelling”. It’s understanding the client’s narrow and bigger-picture issues. Remember, if you truly believe in a solution, you want it to work long-term and have your client’s peers understand the wisdom of the decision. (Make a hero out of your client!)
The Authentic Presenter demonstrates the willingness to do “whatever it takes” to meet the buyer’s rational and emotional needs – and will walk away from the deal because she/he feels it’s not really in the client’s best interest. Therefore, the Authentic Presenter, usually closes not after delivering a prepared presentation, but after engaging in the rest of their conversation – answering client questions by drawing on her/his specific expertise and experiences that are relevant and matter.
In sum, for a compelling presentation, the initial part should NOT focus on “who the presenter is”, but instead focus on demonstrating your understanding of the client’s narrow and broader issues – and then engaging the client in the process of verifying that you got it right, before going into the solution Once the solution is a persuasively presented and (rationally and emotionally accepted), should you go for the final step of making it “compelling” – making sure the client know that you are the trusted expert he/she wants to partner with to deliver the solution.
Learn more about ADAP by requesting our ebook, attending one of our open-to-the public training programs or requesting presentation training for your executives and/or sales people.