When you give a lot of sales presentations there is always a danger of getting a bit stale. So it’s important to start your presentation with energy and pizazz. Even if you are feeling uninspired, remember there are always options for being more creative and having an immediate, positive impact on your audience. Starting well, being engaging and energetic makes it so much easier to keep momentum throughout your presentation.
Here are some tips on getting that early engagement and energy.
1. Work your opening words
Spend time working on the opening of your presentation. Practice in front of the mirror, in front of your family pet if necessary. Make sure you have a few strong sentences that will flow and get your ideas across clearly. While you are practicing check that you look good too. Upright posture not only helps you exude energy it will give your clients confidence in you and encourage them to listen intently.
2. Use anecdotes
Good presenters are adept at telling appropriate stories. They can be very brief and if told well they add colour and interest. We all have a stockpile of stories. Find one that will fit your client, perhaps a story that relates to something in the news that is relevant to their company or industry. By starting with a story you’ll set yourself apart from less accomplished presenters and energise your audience.
3. Use active language
From the start of your presentation use active language. Avoid the passive voice. If you say “it is said that there is always a solution to a problem”, you leave everyone unsure about who will be taking responsibility for finding a solution. If you say “Today we will find a solution to this problem...” it is clear where responsibility lies and your audience will take notice.
4. Come up with a catch phrase
Motivational speakers often have a catch phrase, words that everyone associates with them. You may not be standing up in front of 10,000 people in the Excel Centre but your job is still to motivate. So why not borrow a technique? “We’ll find a way”. “Yes we can!” “Paul for paper!” You can punctuate your presentation with your catch phrase right from the beginning. Doing so adds emphasis, fun, and makes you memorable. Who doesn’t need some fun or light relief in a business presentation?
5. Quote an expert
If a catch phrase isn’t for you why not start with a high impact quote from an industry expert? Someone respected by your audience. If the quote is recent so much the better. If it’s from a recent article or event you’ve attended you show you have your finger on the pulse. You also benefit from the credibility of the person you are quoting.
Quite often the main body of a sales presentation will contain information that we have to repeat for every client. Starting with pizazz gives you a way to personalise your presentation and tailor it for your specific audience.
Starting with pizazz helps you give a quality, professional presentation which builds momentum. And most importantly means you’ll seal the deal!
By Lyn Roseaman, Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organisation that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation’s membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. There are nearly 300 clubs in the UK and Ireland with over 7000 members. Find your local club. Follow on Twitter.