Ah, the Yuletide season. Nothing like the cold winter nights, all snuggled up in a blanket and drinking hot chocolate or eggnog—or any hot drink at all. Perhaps alone, if you so choose, or with loved ones. A cozy thought, especially for those looking to make the most out of this time of the year.
And by “make the most out of this time of the year,” let’s define it as “going out and spreading the message of the holidays.” Or, you know, “the season of giving.” This group of PowerPoint presentation professionals would like to think that, aside from the above statement, we consider that every day should be like Christmas—and in turn, every presentation should be just as giving as the last, if not more.
But what are you actually giving to your audience? Do you have to be a secret Santa to do that? Let’s take a step back and have a look from the observer’s perspective with this gifographic.
There’s no season like Christmas. For many, it’s a time of cheer and splendor, while for some, it’s a time of charity and selflessness.
For each and every one, it’s about merrymaking. Parties with officemates, friends, family, and relatives all make the holidays worthwhile. Get-togethers from distant beloveds and reunions with people you seldom see but often miss. Getting into the spirit of the season with decorations, fetes, and gift-giving truly make it a joyous part of the ending year.
And there’s no feeling better in the world than the merriment spent with those close to you.
It’s not as if your audience shouldn’t be treated as such. They’re an integral part of your task—as small as a group of company executives or as big as a jam-packed auditorium as it may be. Your audience is one of the reasons you’re onstage; they’re there to cheer you and to make sure you’re not doing this in vain.
Don’t take for granted that kind of support. You and your audience are playing your parts. Make the best out of it.
Dorfman, Jeffrey. “Twenty Quotes And Verses On Giving For Christmas.” Forbes. December 25, 2014. www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2014/12/25/20-quotes-and-verses-on-giving-for-christmas/#54867dde1e17
Mack, Lloyd. “Christmas is the season for giving.” Kenora Daily Miner & News. December 1, 2016. www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2016/12/01/christmas-is-the-season-for-giving
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Delivering a pitch with no message and purpose is bound to be rejected. After all, you can’t give what you don’t have. Like Christmas, presenting is all about giving. They both involve aligning your ideas with your audience’s needs and wants so that you don’t disappoint them.
Have you already made a list of every Christmas gift you plan to give to your clients? When you do this, consider what they can appreciate the most.
Choosing Your Presents
Some people struggle to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. This happens either because of tight budgets or a lack of awareness about what their recipients want. Planning your Christmas gifts in advance is as crucial as is planning for presentations. You need to create an outline of your presentation ideas along with names of the people in your audience list.
By knowing your audience and their needs, you can get started framing the right content and delivery they’ll truly appreciate. However, giving them presents isn’t enough to make them feel special. You have to go deeper, into what matters most—your presence. While tangible things can bring fun and excitement, intangible things such as being actively there for your audience can help create strong relationships with your clients.
More Than The Presents
Presenting alone isn’t enough to prove you’re worthy of your client’s time and attention. Being present before and after the presentation is what impresses clients and builds long-lasting relationships. You need to be available throughout the entire pitching process, starting from the initial inquiry, continuing through follow-ups, all the way down to after sales inquiries. This involves asking them relevant questions which you can use before presenting your topic, and addressing their concerns after you’ve delivered your pitch.
Also presenting your product offering in a visually-appealing PowerPoint deck increases your chances of being noticed. Although providing them resource materials, freebies, and giveaways may help capture their attention, prioritizing their needs in person or online satisfies them more. Your time, effort, and availability far outweigh these material things, so make your presence really count.
Giving and Receiving
An excellent and engaging presentation delivery complements any speaker’s presence. Whether it’s a sales or business presentation, your message should be crafted in a way that fits the situation and their needs. As soon as you finish sharing your gifts of information, this is where you receive a little something in return: your audience’s interest. This is where delivering a call-to-action comes in handy. Provide your website and contact details to encouraging them to take action right at that very moment.
There’s nothing wrong with expecting anything in return. It’s only human. However, you should focus on fulfilling their needs. After all, it’s all about your audience. Responding to their queries and demands keeps them interested and engaged, making them feel valued and appreciated. In this way, you’ll realize that giving is essential to get the best of what your clients can give back. This promotes a win-win situation for you and your clients, giving you higher chances of closing more deals and instilling brand loyalty.
You can give without presenting, but you can’t present without giving. More importantly, according to Social Media Explorer‘s Matt Hollowell, consistently making your presence more valuable means you’re delivering more than what’s usually expected. Giving more attention to intangible offerings makes them think that they’re your top priority. You’re not just focused on tangible gains, but more on how your clients can benefit from your offering. Providing a strong call-to-action also gives them the signal that you’re open to any and all inquiries they may have, and can get in touch with you at any time if they have concerns.
All this helps you build long-term relationships with your clients once they put their trust in you. Make them feel that the Holiday spirit lives within you. Remember, your audience wants more of your presence, and less of your presents. Develop a well-designed PowerPoint presentation by letting our team assist you with a free quote!
Hollowell, Matt. “Your Presence Is The Best Present You Can Present.” Social Media Explorer. August 20, 2014. Accessed November 17, 2015. www.socialmediaexplorer.com/social-media-marketing/your-presence-is-the-best-present-you-can-present
“We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give,” — Winston Churchill.
People celebrate success and achieve happiness when good results come their way. However, one can’t achieve great outcomes without exerting any effort. Don’t just focus on yourself while climbing up your own career ladder. After all, most businesses aren’t run by just a single person – they’re built up of several people. You can’t sell something without having someone to sell to, either. That’s why if you want to help yourself, you should also reach out to others.
It’s a great time to do this, especially since the Christmas season is just around the corner. So if you have this major presentation to deliver, why not embrace this season of giving and sharing? Share helpful insights with your audience, and you’ll get undivided attention in return.
Here’s how to be like a secret Santa and make your business pitch worthwhile not just for yourself, but for others.
1. Stick to the Limit
In the context of gift-giving, you can’t buy something random for that person you drew out of the hat. You have to pick an item that can be used by anyone of any gender, without exceeding the maximum budget allotted. Similar to the limits imposed on what kind of gift you can give, making a presentation also comes with its own list of things to consider. It’s tempting to go over the maximum number of PowerPoint slides that you’re allowed to use, especially if you’re struggling to convey your message effectively with less content.
Going over the limit might give you more room to explain your point, but keeping it concise makes it easier for the audience to remember what you said. Likewise, overly-designed visuals in your slides can distract the audience, not only taking their eyes away from your deck, but making them lose their interest in you as well. Sometimes, it’s not about the quantity of your offering, but the quality of your gift. Make your presentation design simple yet interesting to engage and entice them with your speech.
2. Find Out What They Like
Finding the perfect Christmas gift can be both exciting and challenging, just like when you’re pitching a business proposal. The greatest challenge is presenting something that meets your client’s expectations and interests. You have to observe how people act so that you can map out a great strategy. This applies before, during, and after your presentation. Don’t forget to take a real glance at your audience while you’re speaking. Do they look engaged, or are they checking their wristwatches or cellphones instead?
You can try segueing with a somewhat related topic in order to regain their attention, but make sure it’s connected to your message. Otherwise, your audience will think that you’re giving them random information, just so you can say that you offered something, even if it’s knowledge that the audience can’t use.
As a presenter, you also need to watch for what signals they’re sending in. Their expressions are big hints as to how they’re receiving your presentation. Is your audience smiling at you or are they giving you a neutral face? If it’s the former, keep going. If it’s the latter, it’s time to re-evaluate your tactics – and quick.
For example, if business jokes don’t seem to work on them, then you should probably go for something serious. Once you’ve picked up on their visual clues, re-align your thoughts and switch to another style of delivery to recapture their interest.
3. Get Creative with Your Gifts
Receiving a beautifully wrapped gift can make anyone feel extra special. After all, it brings the holiday spirit to life in that one simple moment. If lovely gift-wrapping adds value to a gift, then all the more reason to wrap your speech with a nice note, too. Instead of talking about your topic dryly, go for a creative approach to not only hook but also inform your audience. For instance, you can include an animated video or a movie clip that sums up your intended message with maximum impact.
If you really can’t think of alternative ways to deliver your message, don’t fret. There are plenty of different avenues you can take: you can include infographics, success stories, and up-to-date news to support your main idea. Of course, sprucing up your deck with eye-catching design and layout will help your audience pay attention to what you’re saying. Make sure to align your colors and elements to your personal branding, and arrange your text and images in a way that clarifies your main points, rather than detract from them.
Wrapping It Up
Presentations are similar to Christmas cringles and gift exchanges. You need to put in more effort to make your audience value the gift you’re sharing: the gift of information. Follow the basics, and don’t go overboard. If they set a limit to the kind of gift you can give, then stay within those limits. This not only saves you time, but keeps you from straying from your main topic, giving your audience a meaty presentation instead of one filled with irrelevant information.
Be a good observer, not just someone dispensing information, but someone who takes in available information as well. Things may not go the way you planned them to, so it’s crucial to adapt in case you notice the crowd starting to doze off. Watch out for visual clues about your listeners’ interest levels and adjust according to the situation. Finally, unleash your creative side. Think of other ways to effectively convey your message. Anybody can stand in front of a crowd and start talking about straight facts, but only those who prepare well for it can relay their messages in compelling and convincing ways.
Adopt a secret Santa approach and you’ll bring joy to everybody in your audience. By sincerely giving what meaningful knowledge you have to others, you’re sure to receive sales and numerous successes in return.
Dabbah, Mariela. “Secret Santa: 7 Golden Rules for Giving.” Mamiverse. September 12, 2011. Accessed November 17, 2015. www.mamiverse.com/secret-santa-7-golden-rules-for-giving-3894/
Effectively gaining your audience’s trust is imperative in any presentation setting. Building that sense of reliability can be fairly tricky but there are a few lessons we can takeaway from one of the greatest holiday movies and a certain little boy named Ralphie.
If you aren’t familiar with Jean Shepard’s, A Christmas Story, it’s the classic story of a boy who will do anything to get what he wants for Christmas. In Ralphie’s case, he fantasizes about the, “official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model BB rifle with a compass in the stock “, the one and only thing he wants for Christmas. Throughout the entire film, Ralphie is set on a determined quest to convince his “Old Man”, mother, teacher and Santa himself that he absolutely needs this gift, even though he could potentially “shoot his eye out with that thing”.
So what can we learn about a hopeful little boy who desperately wants a gun for Christmas? It’s simple, Ralphie was able to build credibility with his parents because in the end he got what he wanted when they surprised him with his beloved BB gun. Though his parents were well aware of the possible danger of shooting his eye out, Ralphie constantly assured them that he “would be careful”- enabling their trust.
Here are a few suggestions to help you establish that credibility and trust from your audience when giving a PowerPoint presentation:
Ensure Strong Verbal Delivery and Body Language
Speak loud and clear: the more understandable you are to your audience, the more they can trust what you’re saying. Use effective body language as well: stand tall and don’t fidget nervously to assure them that you’re cool, calm and confident.
Teach More, Sell Less
The purpose of your presentation is to teach your audience your content- selling them goes simultaneously with this. The more your audience learns, the more they remember.
Ask questions and listen to their ideas. Effective communication goes along way with trust building: your audience can believe your ideas when you believe in their concerns.
Share Beneficial Content
Skip the fluff, even if your content is simplified—another important PowerPoint tip. Only provide your audience with information that is useful and relatable. Don’t project a ton of text and statistics that they will soon forget, less is more!
Design, Write and Look Professional
This is a three step process. You want your PowerPoint to look neat, clean and presentable so skip the over abundance of animation and bordered backgrounds. Grammar and spell check multiple times before presenting, even ask for a second pair of eyes for extra edits. And most importantly, look presentable! It’s better to be overdressed than under dressed.
These four tips will help you build trustworthiness with any audience base. Whether you are presenting to a conference room full of people, or even just one person, you are building a reputation for yourself within that time period. From start to finish your audience is meticulously judging your words, content and overall appearance of your professional presentation. Capture their attention in a good way and establish that trust from beginning to end.
Though Ralphie may not be a great example in this case, because in the end his parents ended up being right when he almost shot his eye out, he successfully built his own credibility by convincing his parents that they could trust him. In your next professional presentation consider these tips in order to effectively gain your audience’s trust, I double dog dare you.