Your imperfections during a presentation with customers make you more authentic and credible. Being nervous when you present is common and you can turn it to your advantage.
There is a helpful philosophy about presentations can be summed up in six words: “Be human, be you, make mistakes.”
Customers respond positively to sincere passion that engages their attention and emotion. The power of your presentation springs from your passion. Speaking with passion enhances your confidence, increases your mental clarity and infuses your presentation with energy.
Rules to break
Break these “presentation” rules:
- Open with your introduction and close with questions. You’re not a college professor and prospects and customers are not your students. You’re there to excite and motivate people to take action. This works only if you capture their attention quickly. Prospects form opinions within the first seven to thirty seconds. Do something at the very beginning of your presentation to turn customers on. Surprise them, engage, then, challenge them. Be alert to everything that happens during your presentation. Don’t be preoccupied with personal problems, with airline schedules or with the next call you’re going to make.
- You either have confidence or you don’t. You can teach yourself to be confident and exhibit confidence to prospects and customers. Salespeople who look and appear confident close more sales because their customers pay more attention to them. Your presentation is not our PowerPoint deck, speech notes or flip charts. It’s you.
- Explain each topic. Explanations don’t turn customers on, stories do. Stories plant emotions and thoughts into customer minds. Instead of simply describing a product, try to come up with an example of a customer putting the product to good use. Customers like to hear success stories about your products and services.
- If something goes wrong, act like nothing happened. If some obvious mishap or mistake occurs, your customers or prospects know what happened. Acknowledge and deal with a mistake, then move on. Break the rules, make mistakes, and win them over.
- Control your emotions at all times. The passion you need to present requires emotion. Be positive about yourself, the company you represent, the products or services you’re selling and the prospects you’re attempting to persuade. Enthusiasm is contagious. You persuade with power because you get customers and prospects feeling the same way. Passion for your topic always trumps technique.
Adapted from: Be the Best Bad Presenter Ever, by Karen Hough, the CEO of ImprovEdge, and a sales trainer and motivator.