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Presenting Your Business Pitch with Confidence

Not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. There’s a wide set of skills and traits you have to possess in order to become an effective business leader. Among those traits is self-confidence, a natural magnet that can draw people to you and make them want to listen to what you have to say. As such, it’s an invaluable skill during a business pitch.

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To entice potential investors, you need to appear and sound confident while pitching your idea. Investors are naturally drawn to leaders with high self-esteem because it signifies strength of character, another trait necessary to lead a business venture forward. As Larina Kase, a psychologist and author, said, “True confidence is not thinking that you’ll get a great result. It’s knowing that you can handle any result.” When the path towards success is dark and murky, confidence can carry a strong business leader through.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

How to Boost Your Confidence for a Business Pitch

There are things you can do to pump up your spirits before facing investors and presenting them your business model. Here are seven of them:

1. Look and sound the part

The thing about confidence is that you don’t need to have it to look the part. You can carry yourself with poise even if you’re feeling intimidated or scared inside. There are a few things you can do to package yourself for success: dressing well, correcting your posture, minding the pacing of your speech, using precise language, and smiling. In other words, by making a conscious effort to look confident, you can make a good impression.

2. Exude conviction from every pore

To sell a business idea, you should be able to show investors how passionate and committed you are. They’ll try to gauge whether you really know what you’re doing, so make sure that you remain composed but enthusiastic throughout your business pitch. Make the investors believe in your potential to succeed. To achieve this effect, you have to communicate a certain aura that tells investors how confident you are about your product. This means avoiding uptalk and articulating a statement with a declarative—not an inquisitive—tone.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

3. Know your key differentiator

To identify your business’s primary selling point, ask yourself what your edge is as opposed to competitors. Why should investors choose you over businesses similar to yours? You must have something unique to offer to make your business pitch stand out. Apart from this, you should also be able to explain what your worth is to investors. How can they benefit from your business? What gains can they expect, and when?

4. Find an external manifestation of success

Perhaps the best way to gain self-confidence is to find an external manifestation of your business’s capability to survive and succeed. It’s easier to sell a business idea if you have something tangible to back it up. An example of an external validation of success is a solid customer base that raves about your product. A sizable social media following that has positive things to say about your company is also a good proof that you’re breaking ground. Determining your niche is crucial during the first stages of business development because if you sell to the wrong customers, your business is bound to flop. On the other hand, with the right audience, you can improve your revenue and boost your credibility, which will ultimately attract investors towards your business.

5. Solve problems before they appear

Amateur entrepreneurs who only want to impress investors often make the mistake of acting like they’re immune to disasters. They’re hiding behind the assumption that their business model is so perfect, it can’t possibly be taken down by any future problem. As a general rule, before you present your business pitch to an investor, you should think through the possible challenges that you may encounter along the way. If possible, look for various solutions for each issue so that if one fails, you’ll have a backup to fall on. Set up contingency plans for when things don’t go as planned. By making sure that you’re prepared for the ugly as well as the good, you’ll be able to present yourself as a competent leader who can weather the storm when the worse comes to the worst.

Self-Confidence: The Top Trait You Need for a Business Pitch

6. Rehearse and refine your business pitch

Preparation is key to any speech. As with any other field, achieving a certain level of self-confidence takes time and an immense amount of effort. Research also plays a major role on how competent and confident you will appear in front of a panel. Make sure that your presentation has no loopholes and that everything goes as planned.

7. Worry less and just do your part

Fussing over the aspects of your business pitch that you can’t control will only stress you out. Instead of worrying over the negative aspects of your situation, just focus on the positive. Don’t zero in on your weaknesses as that will only distract and discourage you. Instead, strive to turn your weak spots around and let go of the things you can’t change. Optimism can go a long way in boosting your self-confidence, so try to appreciate the good parts as much as you can.

Above all else, smile even if you don’t feel like it. As Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at George Washington University, said, “Smiling not only makes your voice more pleasant to listen to; it also conveys confidence…. You will appear friendly, approachable, and composed.” That reason alone should be enough for you to flash a smile during a business pitch.

If you follow the aforementioned tips, you’ll be closer to improving your self-esteem. Just be patient and remember that confidence is built over time. With determination, you can stand in front of a panel of investors and present your business in the best light possible.

 

 

 

Resources:

Connick, Wendy. “How to Find Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).” The Balance. June 19, 2017. www.thebalance.com/how-to-find-your-unique-selling-proposition-usp-2917402

Landrum, Sarah. “10 Secrets to Sounding Confident.” Fast Company. July 20, 2015. www.fastcompany.com/3048748/10-secrets-to-sounding-confident

Lobb, Jennifer. “How to Pitch Your Business Like the Pros on Shark Tank.” Nav. December 28, 2016. www.nav.com/blog/how-to-pitch-your-business-like-the-shark-tank-pros-15102

Whitmore, Jacqueline. “9 Ways to Show More Confidence in Business.” Entrepreneur. September 30, 2014. www.entrepreneur.com/article/237634

“How to Give Investors Confidence in Your Business Idea.” Virgin Startup. n.d. www.virginstartup.org/how-to/how-give-investors-confidence-your-business-idea

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Using Humor During a Pitch

“Laughter is the best medicine.” It’s one of the many mantras funny people live by. That and “Laugh with people, not at them” are some of the better ways of looking at the best side of humor. While it unfortunately may not be for everyone (there are some very serious people out there), the sound of laughter is still pleasant to hear.

That simple, lighthearted reason is why it’s a good idea to incorporate humor and make people laugh during your presentation. You’re fostering a more welcoming atmosphere and making sure any tension is laughed away. In addition, you’re giving your audience members a good time by ensuring they don’t get bored while you talk.

It doesn’t mean that you must be a comedian—although there are a few pointers from their trade you could take lessons from. Humor can be strategically inserted into your speech or be present in your slides, like a funny image or a reference to pop culture. There are just a few reminders you must be mindful of.

Pitch Consideration #1: Relevance

Relevance

Recall what public speaking greats do before they get to their main point. A common technique is sharing a story, personal or otherwise. Another is telling a quote they hold close to their hearts. There are others, too, who crack jokes. A shared trait of all three methods is that they serve as an introduction and give the audience an idea and/or a stance on the subject of your speech.

Determine the topic of your quip and make sure that it is relevant to what you’re going to talk about. You don’t want an off-hand punchline that steers away your audience’s focus or doesn’t add anything to your point. It’s just like picking a quote or a story to start your speech with: you always connect it to your topic. The same treatment should be accorded to your jokes as well.

Pitch Consideration #2: Timing

Timing

Jokes have two parts: the setup and the punchline. Veteran comedians have mastered the technique of making their audiences wait for a few moments after building up the former and before saying the latter. The dramatic pause in between evokes a heightened sense of suspense and highlights the punchline. In much the same concept, use that similar sense of timing when you belt out your jests.

Showering your speech with too many jokes dilutes your message with unnecessary asides, making it difficult for your audience to sort through the extra information and get to the meat of your message. Time your jokes with breaks in your piece, like when transitioning to your next point or when you know that you just gave your audience an information overload. Take a breather with a few laughs—just like in life.

Pitch Consideration #3: Sensitivity

Sensitivity

As much as humor is not for everybody (as healthy as that may be), there are also types of jokes that don’t sit well with everybody. For instance, a recent study correlates dark humor appreciation with high IQ, but a speech is not the proper platform, time, or place since the former doesn’t sit well with everyone. In short, choose which kinds of jokes to dish out.

A good type is where you can poke fun at yourself lightly. Don’t be afraid to make yourself the butt of your own jokes. If anything, it shows the level of confidence you have for and about yourself. Don’t let another person be a victim of your own humor; it might be interpreted as a sign of insecurity because you need to put someone down for you to come out on top. It helps that you don’t attack or isolate anyone or put someone in an embarrassing spot, especially if said individual is well-known and/or influential. The safest victim of your jokes is yourself.

Humor is a trait not many people are blessed with but is almost vital in socialization, so studying about being funny and making the conscious effort—although not trying too hard—can be seen as a good thing. When your intent is to use jokes as a tool for a light mood, then you’re grasping the concept of humor nicely; employing it on something as serious as a pitch is always a welcome thought. Make your audience livelier with hilarity and enjoyment since, after all, laughter is the best medicine.

 

Resources:

Anderson, Gail Zack. “How to Use Humor in Your Next Presentation.” Business Communications. September 26, 2011. www.managementhelp.org/blogs/communications/2011/09/26/how-to-use-humor-in-your-next-presentation

Asher, Joey. “How to Inject Humor in Your Presentations.” Speechworks. n.d. www.speechworks.net/how-to-inject-humor-in-your-presentations

Barancik, Steve. “How to Use Humor Effectively in Speeches.” Write-Out-Loud.com. n.d. www.write-out-loud.com/how-to-use-humor-effectively.html

Brounstein, Marty and Malcolm Kushner. “How to Use Humor in You Presentation.” Dummies. n.d. www.dummies.com/careers/business-communication/public-speaking/how-to-use-humor-in-your-presentation

Doward, Jamie. “Black Humour Is Sign of High Intelligence, Study Suggests.” The Guardian. January 29, 2017. www.theguardian.com/science/2017/jan/29/dark-humour-high-intelligence-study

Marshall, Lisa B. “How to Make People Laugh During Presentations.” Quick and Dirty Tips. January 1, 2010. www.quickanddirtytips.com/business-career/public-speaking/how-to-make-people-laugh-during-presentations

Pain, Elisabeth. “Slipping Humor into Scientific Presentations.” Science Magazine. April 1, 2011. www.sciencemag.org/careers/2011/04/slipping-humor-scientific-presentations

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6 Ways to Effectively Communicate Ideas at Work

That brilliant idea you have which can affect positive change in the workplace is largely useless until you communicate it to someone who can bring it to life. However, pitching an idea to a colleague is easier said than done. It’s not easy to explain a concept to someone who has a different background. You’ll need to bridge a knowledge chasm that separates you from your intended recipient. You also have to watch your manner of speaking since you can’t afford to insult your recipient with the faintest hint of condescension. In the same way, you can’t be too naïve to assume that the other person is on the same page as you.

Presenting an idea to a coworker, whether it be a superior or an equal, is always a risk. There’s a possibility of your proposal getting turned down, or worse, ignored. This is why you need to be fully prepared before making your business pitch. Make sure you possess not only flair and poise but also valuable content—a worthwhile idea that can sell itself. Keep in mind what Dorothy Tannahill Moran from Next Chapter New Life, said: “There is a difference between a great idea and an idea that will truly advance the cause of business.”

Know the Recipient's Hot Buttons

Know the Recipient’s Hot Buttons

People have different ways of processing information. Some learn best with visuals while others prefer one-on-one talks. Others are still more comfortable with written exchanges. Conduct a research that will allow you to learn what’s best for your audience. You should possess a heightened sense of contextual awareness if you are to thoroughly understand your recipients. Be astute in sensing their moods, values, and attitudes. Develop a contingency plan that will allow you to align your objectives with theirs. After all, the pitch is not for you but for the company as a whole. 

Direct and Concise Pitch

Make Your Pitch Direct and Concise

Trim the fat from your pitch and go straight to the point. Don’t bore your recipient with unnecessary details. Instead, stick to what your idea will do for them and the organization. “Managers want solutions to the problems that are keeping them awake at night,” said Leigh Steere from Managing People Better. He couldn’t have said a truer statement. When delivering your pitch, make sure to keep the buzz words out. Cut to the chase before your recipient tunes out from your smooth talking. Remember, substance should always come before form.  

Gain the Recipient's Trust and Confidence

Gain the Recipient’s Trust and Confidence

People don’t usually open up to those they don’t trust, so you should try to gain your audience’s confidence before asking them to accept your idea. You can gain your recipient’s trust by displaying a level of authenticity and transparency. Be relatable when delivering your pitch by telling stories, using examples, and applying humor in appropriate situations. Speak to your recipient’s emotions, and let your message take deep root with them. Engage in a meaningful conversation by encouraging a dialogue. Surely, you can learn from them as much as they can learn from you. 

Assert Yourself and Speak With Tenacity

Assert Yourself and Speak with Tenacity

When speaking with superiors and senior colleagues, you should talk and act like they do. Treating them like peers will encourage them to do the same to you. Respect their authority and position, but don’t be deferential and submissive. Show them that you’re thinking in the same level as they are. This will give them the impression that you can stand by your idea and defend it when the need arises.

Prepare and Practice Diligently

Prepare and Practice Diligently

No matter how great your idea is, if you don’t practice how to deliver it, your pitch will likely prove unsuccessful. To maximize your chances, have someone to practice your pitch on. This person should have a total lack of knowledge regarding your idea. He or she should also be willing to provide you with honest feedback. You can practice your pitch on more than one person to take more perspectives. Presenting your pitch to a test audience will help you pinpoint the aspects of your presentation that need improvement. If the test audience understands and approves of your idea and the manner by which you present it, you’ll know that you’re starting off on the right foot. 

Find the Right Time to Make Your Pitch

Find the Right Time to Make Your Pitch

Let’s say you’re ready with your pitch. You have a cutting-edge idea and an innovative way of presenting it. The only concern that remains now is, when is the right time to deliver your pitch? There isn’t one answer to this question since every circumstance is different. You’re on your own to assess whether your recipient is ready to participate in your presentation. Perhaps Tannahill Moran’s words can help you. She said, “If the house is on fire, a new idea tossed into the mix may not go over well unless the idea helps the immediate crisis. You want to present an idea when the ability to focus and plan exists.”

The Aftermath: How to Brace Yourself for Responses

The Aftermath: How to Brace Yourself for Responses

Prepare yourself for the many kinds of responses you may receive. There’s a high possibility that your recipient will pepper you with questions to test your thinking. Think two steps ahead and formulate a response to every possible concern. When you’re faced with antagonism, keep an open mind. A dissenting opinion can help you improve on your idea. If, however, your pitch is ignored, follow up until you get an answer—just do so in a non-imposing way. After all, your audience don’t owe you their participation. It’s up to you to get them engaged.

You might only have one shot at presenting your newfangled idea. Make sure you put your best foot forward and deliver a pitch that is worthy of your recipient’s time.

 

Resources:

Baxter, Susan. “Learning Styles: Three Ways to Process Information.” Top Ten Reviews. n.d. www.toptenreviews.com/software/articles/learning-styles-three-ways-to-process-information

Boitnott, John. “How to Pitch Your Brilliant Idea Without Making the People You Need Feel Stupid.” Entrepreneur. October 10, 2014. www.entrepreneur.com/article/238176

Bonilla, Christina. “Want to Be Taken Seriously? Communicate Like a Boss.” Smart Like How. October 13, 2015. www.smartlikehow.com/blog-native/2015/10/12/l0d6fzogavxj6p72p0yucsuzvdpd9w

Cohan, Peter. “5 Ways to Communicate More Clearly.” Inc. December 4, 2012. www.inc.com/peter-cohan/five-ways-to-improve-your-communication-success.html

Edinger, Scott. “If You Want to Communicate Better, Read This.” Forbes. March 20, 2013. www.forbes.com/sites/scottedinger/2013/03/20/if-you-want-to-communicate-better-read-this/#59a3132b2281

Groth, Aimee & Lockhart, Jhaneel. “7 Smart Ways to Come Up with More Ideas at Work.” Business Insider. January 21, 2012. www.businessinsider.com/7-smart-ways-to-come-up-with-more-ideas-at-work-2012-1

Herrity, Joseph P. “Communicating Ideas Effectively.” Preferred Visions. n.d. preferredvisions.com/publications/thought-provokers/communicating-ideas-effectively

Madden, Kaitlin. “Have a Great Idea? How to Tell Your Boss.” CNN. March 16, 2011. edition.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/03/16/cb.tell.boss.good.idea

Myatt, Mike. “10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders.” Forbes. April 4, 2012. www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/04/04/10-communication-secrets-of-great-leaders/#1b42d2021e06

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Enhance Your Sales Presentation by Appealing to Emotions

Fulfilling your passion goes beyond projecting confidence during a sales presentation. Using emotional appeal is one of the trade secrets of professional presenters and businessmen. By creating a set of common values, emotions, and beliefs about your product, your clients will have an easier time identifying with your brand.

It also helps you connect to your audience faster and sell more effectively. This marketing trick, which business gurus Michael and George Belch have cited as transformational advertising, also improves your persuasiveness as a presenter.

How to Properly Associate Emotions

More than just describing and summarizing your product’s benefits, effective sales presenters add an associated set of emotions to your pitch. In his book, Cutting Edge Advertising, Jim Aitchison notes these as anchors that remain consistent with your audience’s existing standards or beliefs.

This technique relies on giving clients the impression that you believe in the same things they do. Your creative PowerPoint presentation ideas thereby establish your creativity, while making your pitch more memorable.

Combine a Rational and Emotional Appeal

You need to clarify how clients can benefit from your proposal. According to product management expert Roman Pichler, good products are often focused on the user rather than the product itself.

Make this more effective by sharing emotional benefits from using your product. This is similar to what mobile AT&T did with its “reach out and touch someone” campaign, which encouraged its subscribers to keep in touch with family and friends.

According to Aitchison, be familiar with your product and the situations in which your customers will use it. Knowing these lets you decide what kind of emotions you want to associate with your product and your brand. This forms the basis of what emotional benefits to pitch to your clients.

Make Your Brand Own the Emotion

Once you identify what emotion to bring out, it’s time to bring the passion out. Do you want your PowerPoint presentation to sell a warm experience where families can bond together, similar to how McDonald’s does its advertisements? Or, like brand communications specialist Carmine Gallo’s example, do you want to sell a comfortable third place between home and work like Starbucks?

These brands have defined their emotional benefits from ideas that stem directly from their products. More than selling fast food or custom-hand-crafted coffee, these brands emulate a specific personality that like-minded people can relate to. Find out what you want to be known for by getting to know the people who think like you do.

In a Nutshell: Bank on the Power of Belief

Combining rational and emotional benefits are more effective because they can both inform and rouse audiences. By driving home that you believe in the same things your audience does, you make them remember you better.

Once you find that emotion your brand or product can stand for, you can start playing to your passions for better PowerPoint presentation ideas that help you sell faster. Already have your big idea? All you need to do is to get the help of a professional PowerPoint specialist to bring them out.

References

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.
Belch, George E., and Michael A. Belch. Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective. 6th ed. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2003.
Gallo, Carmine. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010.
Product Owners, Focus on the User Benefits, Not the Product!Roman Pichler. 2012. Accessed September 15, 2015.
Using Common Values in PowerPoint Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. April 21, 2015. Accessed September 15, 2015.

Count from 6 to 10: A Quick Guide to Great Presentations

We’ve previously discussed how the numbers one to five can make your business presentations count. This was based off keynote speaker Stephen Boyd’s tips to create a presentation countdown. With our own take on it, let’s continue counting from number six to number ten.

6. Presenting after SIX o’clock P.M.

Business professionals work eight hours on a regular basis. After a long day, only a few stay later than six o’clock p.m. to polish their paperwork, web designs, PowerPoint slides, and the like. After all, we want to get back to our families and our lives, right?

Deliver your presentations as if you’re doing them after six in the evening. Embody the elements of fun, involvement, and learning to keep your audience awake. Treat your audience like close friends and family you’ve been longing to see. Sustain their interest from the beginning to end, no matter how late it is.

7. Seven Means Complete

According to the Bible, the number seven has three Hebrew roots: saba, shaba and sheba. These three biblical ideas are associated with oaths, perfection, and completeness. Whether you’re delivering a pitch to a potential client or discoursing a monthly report with co-workers, your PowerPoint presentation should contain complete data.

Providing evidence supports your argument or main idea. Maximize the use of graphs and charts, statistics, and other visuals for a more comprehensive discussion. Inevitably, your audience will have questions or clarifications which you can tackle in a Q&A session. However, it pays to address all of these possible questions from the beginning to make things easier for everyone.

8. Eight for Affinity

The number eight is drawn with two interconnecting circles. Lacking one circle, either at the top or at the bottom, means you have zero. Presentations are about making connections. Your business speech is useless without an audience.

Command interest by connecting with them on a personal level. You can best engage an audience by exuding a credible aura, by appealing to their emotions, or by challenging their intellect. Building networks after your business pitch is another way to solidify your core message, and get viable results as well.

9. Nine for Anticipation

Where there’s nine, an end is anticipated — nine is followed by ten, ninety-nine makes way for one hundred, and so on. Anticipating unforeseeable circumstances in your talk is a good presentation skill. Don’t make your audience tune out because you panicked or lost your train of thought. Always be prepared for whatever can go wrong in a speaking engagement.

Planning ahead increases your chances of foreseeing or dealing with such problems.

10. Perfect Ten

There’s no denying that the number ten connotes perfection. Ten is a rounded number, which is why our counting system is based on the power of ten. We rate things with one being the lowest and ten being the highest. Striving for perfection is the best mindset for succeeding in your business presentation.

Make sure that your PowerPoint design has the perfect font combo and title slide. Reinforce it with confident delivery and compelling content. Always aim for a deck that will get a perfect ten rating.

To Sum It Up

Use numbers six to ten as your guide for delivering fun, complete, engaging, planned, and perfect business presentations. Remember the importance of connecting to your audience, sharing complete and pertinent data, appealing to emotions, anticipating crises, and striving for perfection.

Need a PowerPoint deck to give you an edge? Check out our portfolio for inspiration, or contact our slide design experts for a free quote.

 

References

Boyd, Stephen. “Public Speaking By Numbers.” Speaking-Tips, August 17, 2011. Accessed June 10, 2015.
Count from 1 to 5: A Quick Guide to Great Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. July 14, 2015. Accessed August 27, 2015.

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.

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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