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3 Ways USP’s Make for Successful Business Presentations

Big ideas are important in business-to-business presentations. The stakes are higher, with both capital and profits on the line. Also called major selling ideas, they act as your pitch’s cornerstone, condensing your offer’s features, advantages, and benefits into an easily understandable and repeatable concept.

A Unique Selling Proposition (or USP) is a marketing concept that allows advertisers to demonstrate a product’s key effectiveness and guides their advertising campaigns’ tone, message, and overall execution. It’s the core that makes any big idea successful. Before stepping into the spotlight, take a step back and analyze if your product is memorable and unique enough to present itself. They may even guide you into becoming a better public speaker.

Here are three ways to use USP’s to improve your business presentation technique.

1. It Demonstrates Appreciable Value

People tend to invest in or buy something that either has proven value or improves their daily lives. Examine your potential customers and, if possible, find out their priorities and motivations. Use this information to determine how to best package what you’re selling.

Similarly, focus on figuring out the ideal way of convincing them to buy in or invest. Knowing how your product improves lives is an important part of fine-tuning your message. During your pitch, assert how your product can make your customers’ lives better to grab their attention.

2. It Reveals an Inimitable Quality

Your audience has probably listened to countless unmemorable pitches. If you don’t play your cards right, you could be one of the many failed proposals, especially if you’re presenting to an established business. Pitch yourself as someone who can offer something that no one else can.

Advertisers research on possible competitors to determine their USP’s validity and sustainability. Similarly, check out your rivals and figure out how you can get a leg up on them through presentation design. Having a unique and professional-looking deck is a surefire way to impress and engage.

3. It Displays a Strong Hook to Reel Them In

As we’ve discussed before, having the facts is only one part of getting your pitch done. It’s the same with your USP. Flex your creative muscles to craft what you bring to the table into a communicable, understandable, and sellable business proposal.

Package what you must share with your potential investors into a novel idea, and you’ll have the main ingredients to success.

Conclusion

Before you start selling your product, make sure that your product can sell itself.

Pinpointing your USP and fleshing it out requires some intensive research and inspiring creativity. Fortunately, it makes an untold amount of difference in making a simple collection of facts and sentences into an effective marketing strategy.

First, find out how your offer improves your target market’s lives. Second, show them what only you can do, which competitors can’t replicate. Lastly, present your product or service in a creative way. Start applying the concept as an approach to business presentations now and reap the rewards.

 

References

Belch, G., & Belch, M. (2001). Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective (5th ed.). Boston, Mass.: Irwin/McGraw-Hill.
Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc.. November 11, 2014. Accessed August 24, 2015.
Reeves, R. (1961). Reality in advertising. New York: Knopf.
Unique Selling Proposition (USP).Entrepreneur. Accessed August 24, 2015.

 

Featured Image: “Apples-Stand-Out” by Flazingo Photos on flickr.com

3 Ways Simplicity Gives Better PowerPoint Presentation Ideas

We’ve mentioned before that giving a presentation is similar to marketing and advertising. This is why you need a simplistic deck for better PowerPoint presentation ideas.

But what exactly makes what Cutting Edge Advertising author Jim Aitchison calls the “less is more” principle effective enough to make ad agency gurus and professional presenters rely on them? Why do professional presenters like those who give the TED Talks make better impressions?

There are three reasons why simplicity gives better presentations.

According to ad veteran Luke Sullivan, all of them rely on a principle made by one of the founders of the ad agency behind the famous Volkswagen ads: “…they won’t listen to you if you’re not interesting, and you won’t be interesting unless you say things imaginatively, originally, freshly.”

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1. Simplicity Gets Your Point Across

Aside from being able to sell effectively, Aitchison suggests that an ad needs to be understandable. This is the same requirement that every professional PowerPoint presentation needs in order to sell.

With simplicity, your sales pitch becomes more understandable, accurate and concise, letting you state your main point and tell your clients what they get out of your proposed product from the start.

2. Simplicity Cuts Through The Competition

Everyday, people are being bombarded with a clutter of advertisements. Clients face a similar situation with presenters. With all the other pitches to sit through, they need to sort through every potential partner’s gimmicks and extra bells and whistles.

With simplicity, you get to state what you can do, what clients get out of your offer and what advantages you have to outsell the competition.

3. Simplicity Gives More Creativity

With a simplistic strategy, you have more room to be creative and interesting. Once you know your product and your position in the market (be it an industry leader, an upstart underdog or a company playing second fiddle), start crafting your PowerPoint slide designs and your speech around highlighting your current strengths.

For example, do you want to highlight your achievements as the best company in the industry? Do you want to feature your advantages over the top companies? Do you want to introduce a new product’s advantages and benefits to the client?

It all depends on how you want to present your company to your client. One effective way to do this is to keep it simple enough to be interesting.

The Main Ingredient: Look To Your Product

Those questions are simple strategies that give room to let your presentation visual design ideas do the talking, a specialty of PowerPoint design professionals. The answer to doing all this lies in finding that one thing that makes your product interesting.

To know more about how to highlight your best ideas, take a few minutes to get in touch with us, all for free!

 

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References

Ad Agency Tricks: Outsell Competitors in Sales Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed August 21, 2015.
Aitchison, Jim. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. 2nd ed. Singapore: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2004.
Great Volkswagen AdsAccessed August 21, 2015.
Sullivan, Luke. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads. 3rd ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

Four Types of Feedback for Improving Business Presentations

Giving a presentation doesn’t stop when you’ve finished speaking or addressing client concerns.

Staying relevant to your audience means being aware of how people receive your pitch. You need feedback and criticism to learn how to improve your business presentations’ speech tone, slide content, and delivery style.

In an anthology on integrated marketing, Dawn Iacobucci and Bobby Calder compile a collection of marketing wisdom. One of the chapters presents four types of feedback to sort through and learn from, similar to how companies use feedback to improve both their credibility and customer relationships: the disgusters, delighters, annoyances, and frills.

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Sorting the Four Types of Feedback

After giving your sales pitch, remember how the audience reacted.

Did they agree with some parts of your presentation? Did they look bored with lengthy explanations? Were there times that they laughed along with your jokes?

Group these reactions into positive and negative groups, then sort the four types:

1. Delighters

Reactions like nodding in agreement, applauding and laughing at compelling visuals are all part of the delighters category.

This is a type of positive feedback that contributes the most to a successful presentation. It defines what you’re good at doing and tells you what works and what you should retain the next time you give the presentation again.

2. Disgusters

The polar opposite of the first item, the disgusters are parts of your presentation that form the bulk of your negative impressions. These are important issues that need to be addressed if you wish to improve your presentation style.

If your listeners seem bored because of text-heavy slides, complicated graphs and a heavy reliance on note cards, sort through these to find out what to avoid next time.

3. Annoyances

While not as serious as the second type, annoyances are minor inconveniences that can be overlooked but should also be considered as points for improvement.

Seemingly simple habits like pausing too often or linking your sentences with filler words might go unnoticed, but can be problematic if done too often and not curbed with practice.

4. Frills

Your presentation’s extra bells and whistles are pleasing to see but only act as support to the PowerPoint and yourself.

Appropriate ambient music and fancy fonts are nice touches, but these must be properly used with the delighters to make your presentation effective.

To maximize this, define your main idea and supporting points first, then know your client’s expectations.

The Takeaway

While these four types of feedback help identify your strengths and weaknesses as a presenter, be aware of how your words and actions affect your audience.

Making a great impression of yourself, your company and your brand plays a big part in selling your products and services.

To help you maximize these positive impressions, all you need to do is get a reliable presentation partner to help you out.

 

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References

A Presentation Expert’s Guide to Knowing the Audience.SlideGenius. April 28, 2015. Accessed July 21. 2015.
Avoiding Filler Words in Your Corporate Presentations.SlideGenius. May 11, 2015. Accessed July 21. 2015.
Iacobucci, D., Calder, B. J., J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, & Medill School of Journalism. (2003). Kellogg on integrated marketing. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Royston, Mary. “What Is Values-Based Marketing?” CreditUnions. August 28, 2006. Accessed July 21. 2015.

Developing an Introduction for Your Business Presentations

Introductions are crucial parts of business presentations, capturing the crowd’s attention before the presenter proceeds to his main topic. Your introduction should fulfill two purposes: to win your audience’s attention and clarify your topic and purpose.

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Favorable Attention Step

Communicologist Eugene White (1960) suggested the following tips on how to receive favorable attention:

  • Point out your subject’s significance to raise the stakes and demonstrate how your topic affects important factors. Attaching a sense of urgency to your presentation, directly or indirectly, makes your audience listen intently.
  • Use pleasantry, wit, and humor. This is a classic oratory flourish of master presenters who entertain while informing listeners.
  • Make a stimulating statement, refer to a famous quotation, or ask a provocative question to stimulate thoughtfulness and curiosity.
  • Mention common bonds with your listeners. People like speakers they can relate with. Bring out mutual traits, beliefs, life experiences, and goals to build the common ground between you and your listeners.
  • Pay the crowd a sincere compliment. A happy crowd is a crowd that listens.

Using one or a combination of the previous methods can guarantee you total audience engagement.

Clarification Step

After you have their eyes and ears, connect your opener with what you actually need to say. Clarify and link your introduction to your main topic with the following tricks:

  • State your speech’s point or purpose. Directly referring to your intentions immediately connects your introduction to your objectives and to your whole presentation.
  • Explain how you plan to develop your topic to give your audience a clue on your presentation’s length. This prepares them to gauge the amount of time you’ll be taking.
  • Provide necessary preliminary definitions and explanations especially if your topic requires a technical approach. When dealing with a lot of unavoidable jargon, get it out of the way before proceeding.

This phase acts as a transition that guides your listeners’ initial curiosity into rapt attention. You can’t simply jump from attention-grabbing straight into your presentation’s main body.

Tying Them Together

When used in conjunction, these two processes make for effective introductions that attract and engage while keeping in line with your message and purpose. They’re like a one-two punch combination, where you set up and measure the range before dealing the most significant blow.

Open your discussion with a favorable attention step that suits your audience, occasion, and topic. Afterwards, ease your listeners into the body of your speech by proceeding to the clarification step.

Conclusion

A well-designed deck and a well-planned presentation fall flat without an effective introduction for a lead-in.

Always begin by getting your audience’s attention. Raise the stakes, use humor, ask provocative questions, sympathize with your audience, or pander to them. Then, cap off the introductory stage by clarifying the connections between your main topic and your introduction. This way, you get an engaging and memorable opener that makes sure your listeners are all eyes and ears for you.

Practice crafting this part to hook your audience right from the beginning.

Need help refining your business presentation? Contact our presentation experts now and receive a free quote!

 

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References

Introductions: 5 Creative Ways to Start Your Presentation.SlideGenius, Inc. November 30, 2014.
The Role of the Introduction.” Boundless. Accessed July 20, 2015.
White, Eugene. Practical Speech Fundamentals. New York: The McMillan Co, 1960.

Four Ways to Get Great Presentation Ideas from Ad Agencies

Before making the sales pitch, know what problem your client needs to solve and what their expectations are. This makes it easier to select the best presentation technique and tactic.

First, you need a great presentation idea.

Are you focusing on practicality like Volkswagen? Or, as renowned author, Jim Aitchison, presented, will you capitalize on the advantages of being second like Avis Rent-a-Car?

Are you looking to attack the competition like when 7-Up presented itself as the “uncola”, the opposition of Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

Before starting on your PowerPoint deck, come up with a simple but powerful strategy to guide your presentation ideas.

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1. Know Where You Stand

Are you a startup? An established company with a credible reputation? Are you somewhere in between?

Regardless of your business size, it’s important to identify your position as opposed to the competition. Inc contributing editor, Darren Dahl, suggests that one of the most effective ways to do this is by determining your company’s financial standing.

Once you know how you stand in relation to your competitors, define what you can offer through your corporate presentation. Find out what advantages you have over the competition and capitalize on those in your sales pitch.

2. Know Your Client’s Business

Clients may call on other companies for a briefing or a factory tour. According to ad veteran Luke Sullivan, this builds your credibility because:

  1. You give the impression that you care and want to know more about your clients.
  2. You get to speak to them in their terms and their language.

Talking in their terms makes it easier for clients to understand your pitch.

When consulting your clients, ask them everything you can. Study their PR materials, look at how they do business with their customers, where they stand in the market, etc.

Your winning presentation idea can be found in your client’s business.

3. Know Your Customers

Find out how your customers see you.

Show your clients that you have satisfied the people you’ve done business with before, and they’ll be more easily convinced to invest in your proposal.

If clients can’t give you the information you need, answer the one question they always ask: “what’s in it for me?”

4. Know the Competition

Knowing how your competition does business tells you how they present themselves. Analyzing your competition’s presentation techniques tells you how to counter them in your own pitch.

If your competition banks on their advantages over the rest of the market, emphasize one thing they don’t have. Avis stated that the lines at their car rental counter are shorter than the leading brands’.

Even the fiercest competitor in your industry vertical will have a weakness you can exploit.

The Final Act: Simplify Your Strategy

Once you have the information you need, make your corporate presentation strategy as simple as possible.

You can emphasize the benefits of being the second place market performer, or boast about a pocket-sized device that holds a thousand songs.

As brand communications expert, Carmine Gallo, puts it, you can talk about how your new gadget achieved a comparable market share to the rest of the competition within its initial shipments.

Whatever benefit you choose to emphasize, make your point at the start of your pitch.

Having a great idea and communicating it well isn’t enough. To truly maximize this, you need a professional corporate presentation designer. Take a few minutes to talk to us and start getting the profits you deserve.

 

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References

Ad Agency Tricks: Outsell Competitors in Sales Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Aitchison, J. Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best Print for Brands in the 21st Century. Singapore; New York: Prentice Hall, 2004.
Dahl, Darren. “How to Evaluate Your Company’s Financial Position.” Inc.com. August 30, 2010. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010
Great PowerPoint Presentations Need Great Main Ideas.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Sullivan, L. Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads (3rd Ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, 2008.

3 Corporate Presentation Tips: Maximizing Board Room Pitches

Presenting to executives and other high-powered decision makers can have unbelievably high stakes. Corporate presentations of this significance can be absolutely nerve-wracking. You should expect no less from a possible career or life-changing opportunity.

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Achieving success here isn’t a Herculean task. Use these three tips to become a more confident and effective presenter for when it most counts:

Put the Spotlight on Your Core Message

Executives and board members are busy individuals who have no time to do long conversations. Simplify your presentation and break down your message so that it’s easily digestible.

Keep your discussion on the right track.

Avoid using industry-specific jargon and focus on explaining and expounding on your core message. If you have too much important data that clutters up your deck, put them in an accompanying report or handout.

This doesn’t mean your deck has to be plain and bare. Engage your viewers’ eyes with the right visuals. Despite their status, executives are people too, and would appreciate a good pitch that stands out from the numerous other presentations they encounter daily.

Rely on Evidence and Actual Data

Rhetoric tools are still useful in this situation, but the higher-ups need actionable data based on tangible evidence. You can’t expect them to make high-risk decisions based on unconvincing or misleading information.

This is where research comes in handy. Conduct a thorough and comprehensive study on the subject of your current report. If you can’t do it alone, try mobilizing other departments in your company and ask for help.

At the same time, according to entrepreneur John Rampton, you can also outsource and tap into other references to access the information you need. This may even save you the time and cost.

In terms of deck design, don’t saturate your slides with content. Minimize the amount of text to streamline your corporate presentation. If your data relies on showing numbers, then explain them in visual ways like charts, graphs, and diagrams.

Rehearse the Nerves Away

These are high-stake affairs, so your preparation should correspond to the predicted benefit of succeeding.

Be self-critical of your own presentation, determine possible weaknesses in your arguments and prepare for your audience’s possible concerns. Consider the proper clothing choices to match your purpose and the occasion.

Opt for an attire that’s not too flashy or formal. Go for something that won’t throw your audience off but give them a memorable impression of you.

It’s natural to feel more nervous than usual but you can get rid of your fears with constant practice. Practice breathing techniques and a few warm-up exercises to put you in the right state of mind during your pitch. You’ll want to be at the top of your game in front of this crowd, after all.

Conclusion

Getting through and impressing the big leagues requires an even bigger amount of preparation.

Fortunately, sticking close to your message, relying on hard data, and dedicated practice prove vital in getting the best out of your pitch. Keep these tips in mind for when that big break comes.

For these opportunities, you need to be at your best. Get a corporate presentation deck to match the occasion with SlideGenius. Contact us for a free quote.

 

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References

Fine-tuning Your Presentation’s Core Message.” SlideGenius, Inc. November 11, 2014. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Presentation Ideas from Ancient Greece: Explaining Ethos.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed June 26, 2015.
Rampton, John. “How Outsourcing Can Save You Money.” John Chow Dot Com. Accessed June 26, 2015.

Make an Impact and Deliver Better Business Presentations

For most professionals, typical business presentations include having to sit through monotonous discussion while trying to decipher the small text projected in front them.

While these scenarios are common, bland business presentations shouldn’t be the norm.

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For your big presentation, turn the situation around and deliver something memorable that will leave a lasting impact on your audience. That’s why we decided to review the different things you can change and emphasize for your business presentations.

Take note of these essential characteristics and learn to apply them to your work:

Authenticity

The problem with most business presentations is that they often lack emotional impact.

Because they’re delivered in formal settings, presenters think that business presentations need to focus on the hard facts.

While data is obviously important to help build the credibility of your presentation, you still need to add a human element in order to create a connection with the audience. What better way to capture their attention and keep them engaged than by building this important rapport?

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to try and move your colleagues to tears or leave them rolling on the floor with laughter. Your goal is to build an authentic experience for them. Instead of presenting overwhelming amounts of charts and data, try to integrate a story to your presentation.

Thorough

Following our previous point, you’ll know that business presentations commonly suffer from information overload.

Without setting a clear goal, presenters tend to add too much to their content and end up prolonging the discussion with repetitive details. That’s why business presentations need to be thoroughly prepared. Solve the dilemma of an unorganized discussion by defining a clear objective.

From there, meticulously curate your content to make sure everything is aligned with your goals. Cut back on the data you present and include only the numbers that are most important to help drive home your key takeaways.

Compelling

To make an impact with your business presentations, you also have to focus on how well you face the audience and deliver your speech. If you want the audience to sit up and listen, focus on creating a compelling and engaging atmosphere.

As you start your presentation, catch their attention through nonverbal cues. It’s not enough to speak with confidence, you also have to exude the same amount of credibility in the way you dress and carry yourself. Avoid slouching or gestures that make you seem closed off or aloof.

Don’t be too stiff—try to strike a balance between both feeling comfortable and commanding authority in front of an audience.

Visually Stimulating

Finally, business presentations also need to break out of the “Death by PowerPoint” mold.

Instead of undecipherable PowerPoint slides, you need to come up with a presentation deck that is visually stimulating and interesting.

This will elevate the message presented in a presentation. That said, it shouldn’t overshadow the core message with walls of text and misused bullet points.

Appeal to the visual sense of the audience. Apart from carefully curating your content to make sure you don’t end up with too much text, choose high-quality images to visualize your points.

Don’t forget to pick out a striking color palette and a few interesting fonts as well.

Looking for inspiration from design experts? Take a look at our design portfolio or contact us for a free quote today!

Your business presentations do not have to lull the audience to sleep. Keep your colleagues engaged by making an impact they won’t soon forget. Take note of these 4 essential tips and deliver the best business presentations they’ll ever see.

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References:

3 Lessons on Choosing Fonts for Your PowerPoint Design.” SlideGenius, Inc.. January 14, 2015. Accessed February 26, 2015.
Hook, Line, and Sinker: What Makes a Great Presentation Story.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 11, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2015.
Non-Verbal Communication.” Skills You Need. Accessed February 26, 2015.
Understanding Information Overload.” Infogineering. Accessed February 26, 2015.
Where to Find Unique Images for Your Presentation Design.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 18, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2015.

 

 

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Does Your New Business Idea Have Potential?

So, you finally have the next billion dollar business idea.

You might think that this sets you off for greater things, but the real challenge is only about to start. There are plans to make and perfect as well as investors to impress.

You have a long road ahead of you.

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Before anything else, you need to make sure that your business idea has potential. After that, it will be much easier to convince others to consider your plans and take you up on your offer. As the old saying goes, “ideas are a dime a dozen.” It doesn’t really matter that you have this unique new idea that no one else has come up with before. The test is in how well you execute the tasks ahead of you.

For that, you need to develop the idea you have. What makes some ideas succeed, and others fail?

Diffusion of Innovations

In 1962, a sociologist named Everett Rodgers sought to answer these questions. He conducted a research project to learn more about how and why certain ideas spread. He gathered data from hundreds of case studies and published his findings in “Diffusion of Innovations“.

In his book, Rodgers was able to explore the different factors that influence how we decide which ideas are worthy of acceptance or rejection. These factors were examined by professor and author David Burkus in the context of business.

Now we’ll give our own take on the topic and see how you can gauge the potential of your own pitch deck.

Relative advantage

Relative advantage deals with how well your business idea and pitch deck compares to what is currently available on the market. The product or service you’re planning to launch should be seen by others as an improvement on the current standards of your industry.

This often happens when you’re presenting your product or service’s advantage in your pitch. Highlight how you stand out from the competition by stepping away from your slides and presenting a live demo. The concrete and visual evidence will convince your prospects of your skills.

Give them the statistics on how well you’ve performed in the past, or how in depth you’ve done your research, but before you reveal your own features, always start with the unique benefits only you can offer.

By tapping into this characteristic, you’ll be able to win people over with tangible proof, as well as a good track record over the competition.

Familiarity

Of course, your business idea will need more than an innovative edge to succeed. People also gravitate towards ideas that are familiar and relatable. If they can use past ideas and experiences to understand what you’re proposing, they will be more likely to accept and adopt to it.

Most of us prefer to try out things that have some semblance to what we’re already familiar with. Always keep in mind that even as you push boundaries, you also have to create an emotional connection with the target audience.

Check out the current trends that resonate with people’s preferences and incorporate these into your pitch. Share a personal story or experience that’s directly related to what you’re going to talk about.

The sense of familiarity before introducing the big reveal to your audience eases them in before surprising them out of nowhere.

Simple and easy to understand

Another factor to consider is the complexity of your business idea. It shouldn’t be too difficult to understand for others to adapt to it quickly. In other words, it shouldn’t be complex at all. It should be simple and straight to the point and this is where a pitch deck specialist can help.

The people you’re hoping to convince should be able to understand the logic behind it.The technical details might be complex, but it should still remain fundamentally easy to understand. An idea that’s too difficult to grasp can end up intimidating your potential audience.

You might have too much raw data at hand, but not all of it should go into your slides. Take only the most important data, and present it in a visually appealing manner. For this purpose, graphs, charts, and other visual representations can come in handy.

The details that you leave out can be further expounded on in your speech itself.

Able to test and verify

Related to the previous point, the next thing to consider is how effortlessly others can interact with and test out your new business idea. The more accessible your concept is for verification, the more individuals can familiarize themselves with it.

Once that happens, the likelihood of their accepting it grows. A quick example of this is how musicians allow audiences to stream their music for free on sites like Spotify or SoundCloud. Through these sites, their audience can see if they like their new material and then commit to buying the full-length album.

Get plenty of positive testimonials for your brand to put on your slides. It’s especially helpful if you can get the help of famous influencers, or better yet, brand advocates who are genuinely interested in your business, and who would be willing to advertise you to their followers.

Put your name out in the market with the help of other people, and build your network before, during, and after your presentation.

Can be observed and shared 

Finally, it will also help that your business idea can yield noticeable results that others can share and talk about. Rodgers calls this quality “observability.”

If your idea is open to observation, the easier it is to find and reach out to a wider audience. In other words, the more visible your new product becomes introduced to a mass audience.

In the article by David Burkus, he gives Banksy as an example. He wrote, “One of the reasons for Banksy’s success is the observability of his work. Many artists challenge social conventions in unique, seemingly playful ways, but Banksy’s work is highly public and easily shareable. It isn’t just stuck behind the glass in a single gallery or museum.

Don’t fail your prospects with empty promises. Part of your presentation is the assurance of quality. Show them that your ideas will have large returns from their investments. During your pitch, give instances when your product or service delivered well.

Does your new business idea have the potential to succeed? It definitely will if you improve on the finer points by using these criteria. Polish your message using these pointers and get started on creating a pitch deck that will wow investors.

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References:

Burkus, David. “The 5 Common Characteristics of Ideas That Spread.” 99u. 2013. Accessed January 30, 2015.
The Art of Graphs and Charts.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2014. Accessed January 30, 2015.
Why Storytelling Is an Effective Presentation Technique.” SlideGenius, Inc. September 8, 2014. Accessed January 30, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Joey Gannon via Flickr

What Your Product Demo Actually Needs

During a product demo, the priority is to turn the spotlight on the many advantages of the product you’re pitching. We talk about all the ins and outs of the product, focusing on what makes it the best compared to what’s currently available on the market.

This was the approach that Robert Falcone of brand personalization specializer, Monetate, has tried, tested, and proven ineffective. In an interview with First Round Review, Falcone shared his experience delivering hundreds of product demos with very little success. Finally, after research and practice, he found that knowing a product doesn’t make a demo successful.

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What a product demo actually needs is a change in the usual perspective. Instead of focusing on features and advantages, Falcone learned that he needed to cater his demos for the audience.

Now, one of the easiest and biggest mistakes he sees is that companies don’t effectively craft their demo to fit their specific audience—i.e. they don’t distill their dozens of features and selling points into the few that will really resonate with this particular investor, prospect, or even prospective employee.

To do this, here are the strategies that he found to be effective:

The 5-minute “discovery session”

We often discuss the importance of learning as much as you can about the audience beforehand. Part of your preparation should always include doing some legwork and research to learn basic information about the people you’re about to face. Falcone takes this advice one step further with what he calls the 5-minute discovery session. Before you start your presentation, take a few minutes to ask the audience what they want.

The best strategy for this: “Be upfront with the people you’re talking to. Say outright, ‘I’m going to start off today’s conversation by taking just five minutes to ask you a few questions so that I can understand which features will be most important for you.’ That way, you’re all on the same page. You’ve framed things in a strong, clear, logical way, and you already have them participating in a dialogue.”

If this sounds a bit odd, you should look at it this way: your product demo is an opportunity to start a conversation with your prospects. To learn the best way you can be of service to them, you need to engage with them.

The usual product demo isn’t dynamic at all. The presenter just delivers his pitch and gets politely thanked at the end. If you really want to gain an opportunity to actually communicate the benefits you can provide, you shouldn’t be afraid to open the door.

Start with the outcome

As Falcone said, customers aren’t compelled to try a product because it’s the best in the market. They consider a product because it promises to give them something they want or need. In other words, they’re looking at the outcome. They want to know how your product will affect their life or solve their problems.

You want your audience to envision, and if possible, experience what life with your service or product will be like. Then, once they have that in mind, you can back up and show them why things will be so much better. It’s part of anticipating that ‘after’ state you want to ask about during discovery, and addressing it right away.

Before detailing all the features and selling points, start your product demo by outlining the outcome. Tell your prospects what they should expect out of your product and how it will help answer the problems they shared with you during the discovery session.

Move from macro to micro 

When you’re finally ready to discuss product details, make sure you structure the demo in a way that’s easy to follow. Start by providing the audience with a macro view of your product before going into a micro view. This way you can present a general premise before moving on to more nuanced and detailed discussion.

You have to remember that most people you demo to will probably know nothing about what you’re about to present or how it works. If you get into the weeds too fast because you’re worried about dumbing things down or not being subtle enough, you’ll lose.

The objective of a demo isn’t just to introduce a new product. You want to make sure your prospects understand everything about the product you’re offering. How can they decide to make a sale if they leave your pitch confused?

Silence can push the dialogue further

A lot of presenters are scared of silence, but Falcone asserts that it can be an important part of a product demo. Instead of trying to cover up awkward silences with long explanations, let it play out and use it to your advantage.

[Falcone] found that this keeps him from going off topic just to fill the void, and if he waits for a bit before answering a question, he has more time to be thoughtful about his response. Best of all, someone else in the room may jump in to supply more context about what they want or need.

Instead of grasping for something to say, allow silences to play out organically. Use the time to think about what you’ll say next, or wait for the audience to bring up their own points and perspectives. Whatever happens, you’ll find that it can actually help add a dynamic quality to a product demo.

Keep the floor open for questions and answers

Lastly, your product demo will also benefit from taking and answering questions early on. Doing so will definitely contribute to creating an open dialogue feel to your presentation. It also encourages your audience to take an active part in the discussion, allowing them to see that this pitch is all about their needs.

Aside from that, you should also address questions to the audience. As Falcone pointed out, this is your opportunity to “keep people engaged and facilitate learning on both sides“. In particular, there are three types of questions you can ask.

You can ask an open-ended question, which starts the conversation. Then there’s the “point question”. It’s completely rhetorical and serves to emphasize the point you’re trying to make. Finally, you can also ask a “response question”. This is something you pull out when an audience asks you something that’s a bit tricky to answer.

A product demo is an opportunity to reach out to potential customers and clients. At this point, you want to make sure that you present an outcome that is beneficial to them. Make sure you listen to their needs by following these strategies. You can also improve your chances through powerful visuals.

SlideGenius Blog Module One

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References:

“3 Presentation Benefits of Using Silence as Strategic Pause.” SlideGenius PowerPoint Design & Presentation Experts. July 3, 2015.
Falcone, Robert. “Your Product Demo Sucks Because It’s Focused on Your Product.” First Round Review. Accessed January 8, 2015.
Why Conversational Tones Work for Corporate Presentations.” SlideGenius PowerPoint Design & Presentation Experts. May 7, 2015.

 

Featured Image: ImagineCup via Flickr

Business Presentations: Give Your Audience a Memorable Experience

When you think of business presentations, the first images that come to mind are probably bleak. After all, you’ve had to sit through your fair share of monotonous meetings and discussions. You’ve had to squint your eyes in order to read the lengthy paragraphs projected on the screen. You’ve had to stop yourself from falling asleep in a darkened room. You’ve had to patiently wait for the speaker to get to the point.

Despite all these negative scenarios, there are still occasions when you were able to watch a memorable business presentation. The slides were concise and well-designed, the points quickly and clearly made. In particular, they all have a few characteristics in common.Take note of the following and apply them to your business presentations as well:

Authentic

Business presentations are often devoid of any emotion. Presenters believe that they need to focus on the hard facts. While data is important in building your credibility, your presentation will need a more “human” element in order to create a connection. This doesn’t mean that you have to move your colleagues to tears. One way to make your business presentations memorable is by creating a more authentic experience. Instead of drowning your audience in a sea of spreadsheets, try to focus on telling a story instead.

Meticulous

A lot of business presentations also suffer from information overload. Without a clear goal, presenters tend to detail too much of their content and end up sharing things that may be unnecessary or repetitive. They end up confusing their audience even more. To solve this dilemma, you will need to identify your main objective and meticulously curate your content. Make sure each slide and sentence contribute to driving home your main point. If you have data to present, include only the ones that are most important to your message. You should also prepare a loose script to keep your speech on the right track.

Visually Stimulating

More than having concise slides, business presentations also need to be visually stimulating. As we’ve mentioned in the earlier scenario, too often presenters commit PowerPoint mistakes that overshadow their core message. Aside from carefully picking and choosing which content to include, presenters all so need to make PowerPoint decks that speak to the visual senses of the audience. A striking color palette, plus the use of high-quality images can make a huge difference in your slide design.

Compelling

The impact of a business presentation also rests on the power of delivery. For people to listen, you will need to create an engaging and compelling atmosphere. When you face an audience, you must demand their attention through the way you speak and carry yourself. Speak clearly and loudly. Exuding confidence in your words is one of the key ways to build credibility. You should also be mindful of your body language. Avoid gestures that make you seem closed off or aloof.

 

Featured Image: Sebastiaan ter Burg via Flickr