Getting any audience to take action is never easy
To get buy-in from any audience requires a practiced skill and a strategic plan to get guaranteed results.
More sales are lost due to the presenter not doing his/her homework. So often, very little to no planning is executed and the presenter believes he/she can ‘wing’ it or just ‘speak off the cuff’. This results in negative impressions being made of the presenter, the organisation they represent and their product. Presenters such as this make good adversaries for their own organisations and wonderful assets for their competition. Any presenter must know what it is that they want to achieve to gain audience buy-in and take ownership of the results. Here are a few tips that may be useful:
1. Find out what the needs of the audience / customer are:
If you know beforehand what the audience really requires, what their need or their ‘problem’ is, it is easier to plan your presentation around those needs. This valuable information is what the presentation is really all about. Understanding what these needs are is the real reason why they ‘want to’ and ‘should’ listen to you. Most importantly, it is what’s going to resolve their problem. Understanding this will place you ahead of your competitors.
2. Present the right info to the right audience: Give only as much info that the audience require to make the right decision. Sharing more information that is not relevant to their need creates ‘over-selling’ and causes confusion. The ‘one presentation that fits all’ syndrome does not appeal to building positive and future relationships with your client and if it does work in some cases, you are creating a one-off buy-in scenario.
3. Never learn your presentation by rote: Learning a presentation off by heart will always come across as over-rehearsed and loses impact. Instead, have an organised prompt card or clear visuals that will guide you through the process. Never read the visual content word for word – the audience are quite capable of doing that themselves.
4. Humour the technical presentations: Presenting the budget or a technical presentation becomes boring, even if you are presenting to fellow accountants or engineers. Too much information competes with the audience brain power and sooner or later they start switching off and going on mental holidays. All they will be thinking about is when will you be finishing rather than thinking of the best advantages of going ahead with your recommendations. Use humorous one-liners or visuals (that are relevant) to release the bore!
5. Rehearse, rehearse: You have only one chance to present your ideas to that particular audience. If you fail, you cannot go back and redo your presentation. Failure to rehearse beforehand only makes your live presentation your first rehearsal in front of the audience. Rehearse in a quiet spot at home or your office where you will not be interrupted. Rehearse aloud to hear your tone, pace, pronunciation, enunciation and vocal clarity. If you are required to present standing up, then rehearse standing up. Rehearsing is all about making you feel comfortable with what you need to say, how you are saying it, what you feel and how you feel.
6. Never exceed your time: Whatever time you are invited to speak for, stick to that time and NEVER exceed it. The audience will subconsciously lose concentration after the allotted time and the chance of them buy-in is further reduced. It is also disrespectful towards the audience and you will leave the impression that you have not prepared. If you can get your message across in a shorter time, you will have a better chance.
7. Be in control: Control is everything. Control leaves the audience with the perception that you know what you are talking about, you are an expert, you are confident in your product, you are certain that your solution will resolve their needs, etc. Be in control over your nerves, the audience, the room layout, the technical aspects of the talk, time, etc.
8. Plan the end: You must know explicitly what you want the audience to do at the end of your presentation. For example, must they sign the contract, pay, decide on when to meet again, etc. This means that your ending must be confident, specific, clear, strong and confident. This comes from you being in control.
9. Grab their attention: Your first sentence must captivate the audience to grab their attention and should tie into their need. The tone of your voice must be in control and motivating with your voice well projected and clear.
10. Be professional: Look, act, behave, speak, and perform like a pro. The way you look should be confident and enthusiastic, what you wear should complement the audience – dress one up to them. Your body language should shout professionalism. Be an extension of your product and organisation. These steps are a sure way to get your audience to buy in each and every time you present.
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