Is making a business presentation a part of your daily life? Like, brushing your teeth, combing your hair. So, why bother reading about something that you do every day, you may ask.
Because, neither will brushing your teeth ensure that you don’t end up waiting at the dentists, nor will regular presentation making guarantee that it really speaks to your target audience. How often have you sat through somebody’s presentation wondering what it’s all about!
The next time you want to create a business presentation, ask yourself, are you conveying the message effectively to your audience. Is your presentation connecting with the expectations and sentiments of your identified buyer persona? Are they getting those 3 important takeaways? Is it enough to just create aesthetically pleasing presentations?
The importance of the presentation cannot be overemphasized because it can make or break the deal. Here are few pointers to create effective B2B presentations.
Set clear objectives
Every presentation has a purpose. It could be to introduce, persuade, influence or simply give information, but the message should be clear and the point should be made. So at the outset of any presentation, it’s important to set clear cut objectives.
While preparing the presentation, it can tend to get loaded with many items of information which may appear relevant, but are actually not. Visiting your objectives often can help you streamline the information and keep you on track. Straying away from your objectives will lead to a confusing presentation with multiple messages, taking away the audience’s focus.
The message to be delivered, the point to be made, the takeaways should be determined upfront so that while writing the content or designing or delivering the presentation, there is no deviation from the stated purpose.
Understand your audience
Knowing the audience is a pre-requisite to prepare for the presentation. You need to know who’s going to be looking at the presentation, what are their concerns, and so on. A B2B sale entails the involvement of a number of people through the different stages of the buying cycle – The influencers and decision makers with their different personas and differing needs. Understanding the decision making criteria, concerns and attitudes of the identified personas is critical in deciding how to pitch your solutions.
Preparing an outline for your presentation
An outline helps you to organize your thoughts and carefully structure the information you want to share. This involves writing down your ideas and the key points, visualizing the pictures and images that go with it. You have to decide the flow of information to get the point across to the audience. It’s very easy to get lost on the way, but creating an outline ensures that you think through the topic and decide how you want your presentation to play out. You can even figure out if any of your topics need research or if the data is available readily; and where can you get this information internally or externally.
Gather data and Research
You may need to gather information about your own product successes from within the organization and present the latest achievements to the client. You may need to study and do an ROI analysis for your audience or comparison charts between different solutions to a problem. Sometimes, trends and statistics have to be included by doing a bit of external research. You will need to know more about a competitor and his offerings.
Writing the presentation content
Writing for presentations is no mean task. It involves choosing your content carefully and keeping it short. The content has to tie together the objectives, outline, structure and information from the research and create a logical flow. While creating slides, do not present too many ideas on one slide. Break it into multiple slides to retain focus and give time for the information to sink in. Present supporting information for whatever claim you make. The message must be delivered and the concerns of the audience must be addressed in a logical way.
“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
Creating the effective business presentation
Now that you have your objectives clear, understood the sentiments of your audience after having defined their persona, and created an outline, follow some simple steps to create the presentation.
- Explain the current scenario – Basically, putting things in perspective by explaining what’s going on in the audience’s environment – inside the company, the current industry trends and other related factors.
- Project the ideal situation – The scenario of how the ideal situation will look after the need is fulfilled
- Convey what should be done to achieve the ideal situation – recommend solutions/actions
Being a takeaway slide, it can encourage the audience to get more information on how to implement the recommended solutions and, therefore, keep them focused on the presentation.
- Validate the recommended actions – provide more details on the suggested actions through graphs, charts, graphics, and case studies.
- Conclude – reinstate the suggested actions to drive home the ideal situation and what they can do about it
Aesthetics help retain the audiences’ focus and keep the boredom away.
o Simplicity simply rules – keep the slides simple and clutter free with minimum text.
o Use contrast to differentiate important slides – play around with color combinations, different backgrounds, high contrast – something which can make it stand out
o Use a relevant picture or a graphic in each slide to depict the message you are trying to convey. However, if graphic is unnecessary to the information present on the slide you may simply want to do away with it.
o Keep the presentation layout simple without unnecessary, interfering graphics and loud colors
There are many factors critical involved in the making of an effective business presentation. But in the end what matters is that your audience leaves the room with those 3 important takeaways.
“Write what should not be forgotten.”
― Isabel Allende